My first encounter with Serotonin deficiency was back in 2009 after I was laid off from my place of work and sunk deep into alcohol abuse. At first, I didn't understand what I was going through; I constantly had to battle with the "blues", anxiety and depression.
After a long time living in denial, a buddy of mine advised me to see a medical pactitioner who diagnosed me with Serotonin deficiency. Luckily the doctor took me through my condition and gave me the right medication to treat my condition. Today I will be talking about this common but little-known condition, its causes, effects and the different ways to treat it.
Low serotonin levels have been found to lead to a host of negative health effects including:
Digestive Tract Blockages.
Serotonin is known to aid in the muscular contraction of the gut in a process known as peristalsis. It allows for the proper movement of food and drinks through the digestive tract.
When Serotonin levels are low, muscle cell signals are limited while calcium levels released by the cells are lowered. This, in turn, inhibits the ability of digestive muscles to contract which thereby leads to blockages.
Impaired Blood Flow and Clotting Ability.
Serotonin aids also in the contraction of blood vessels as they transport blood throughout the body. Serotonin deficiency thereby leads to impaired blood flow.
Serotonin is also stored in the platelets and retrieved to aid in blood clotting in case of an injury. A reduction of Serotonin levels, therefore, causes a reduction of the blood's clotting ability.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Due to the central role Serotonin plays in the contraction of gut muscles, a deficiency causes severe muscle impairment. This leads to constipation or irritable bowel movements due to the reduced mobility or gut flow that makes it difficult to pass stool.
Impaired Fetal Development.
Serotonin is very important in the development of the fetus especially in the early stages of pregnancy.
During the zygote stage, Serotonin deficiency prevents effective cell division leading to complications later. Serotonin deficiency during the implantation stage, on the other hand, leads to the impaired development of body organs such as the eyes, blood vessels, jaw, and brain.
Impaired Immune System Function.
Animal studies on experimental mice and fish have shown a correlation between Serotonin deficiency and immune system suppression. It was noted that low levels of Seratoni led to reduced multiplication and production of immune cells.
Disruption of the Circadian Rhythm or Biological Clock.
Depletion of serotonin levels in the body leads to the disruption of the biological clock or Circadian rhythm responsible for normal sleeping patterns. This leads to a reduction of sleeping hours and sleeping more during the day than at night thereby causing insomnia.
Leads to Major Depression.
Studies show that increasing the body Serotonin levels tends to reduce cases of major depression. On the other hand, a reduction in Serotonin levels has been found to cause relapse in patients suffering from depression.
Comprehensive studies have heavily linked Serotonin deficiency to Social phobia. People with serotonin deficiency have been observed to be less socially inclined and have low self-esteem due to anxiety and depression. Drug increasing Serotonin levels, on the other hand, have been shown to better treat social phobia.
Serotonin deficiency has been shown to impair the ability for one to recall and memorize facts. This can be attributed to the deficiency of its transporter (SERT) that is involved in recall and memory.
Increases Aggression and Anxiety.
In people having a deficiency of Serotonin and serotonin 5HT1B receptors, it was observed that they exhibited more aggressive behavior than people with normal levels of serotonin.
Deficiency of Serotonin 5HT1A receptors, on the other hand, has been linked to increased signs of anxiety.
How to Naturally Increase Serotonin Levels.
While there are various synthetic drugs that can be used to increase Serotonin levels and restore them to normalcy, they may have serious side effects. Certain natural methods can be applied to naturally increase Serotonin levels. These include:
Physical exercise for about 30 minutes three times a week.
Getting exposure to adequate levels of sunlight or selective exposure to artificial bright light.
Get a massage.
Take in Serotonin supplements.
Engage in meditation exercises such as Yoga and meditation.
Make sure to eat protein and carb-rich foods.
- Drink 6-8 glasses of water daily.