Serotonin, commonly called the happiness hormone, is an extremely important neurotransmitter in the brain, responsible for many basic human life processes. Either a deficiency or an excess can lead to serious functional disorders, such as depression, insomnia or even obesity. Check out if this problem affects you!
Serotonin is a powerful chemical compound that helps to transmit signals between areas of the brain. Due to the wide and extensive distribution of cells with serotonin receptors, it is believed that the level of serotonin affects many psychological functions, as well as the regulation of physiological processes. This means that most of the nearly 40 million cells in the brain are directly or indirectly affected by serotonin. This applies to cells in the brain that are responsible for mood, desires, sexual desire, appetite, sleep, memory, learning, temperature regulation and some social behaviours.
How does the body indicate a low level of serotonin?
Craving sweets and carbohydrates
Carbohydrates, in particular, those derived from sugars and those rich in starch, e.g. biscuits, chocolates, lollies, chips, hamburgers and other similar snacks directly affect the level of serotonin. This is why people who are stressed, unhappy and upset often crave these foods and eat them compulsively. However, it is true that fast foods, sugary drinks and sweets raise the level of “happiness hormone”, but only temporarily. Soon after the consumption of these products, serotonin drops dramatically, which overpowers the body with feelings of drowsiness, hostility, depression or anxiety. To avoid major health problems, it is very important that we choose our food carefully.
It is a well-known fact that the level of melatonin directly affects the production of serotonin and both hormones interact with each other. When the serotonin level is low, the body also produces less melatonin. This means it is difficult to maintain the natural rhythms of sleep and awakening, which then causes a negative effect on the ability to fall asleep and remain in a deep sleep phase. However, insomnia can cause a series of other dysfunctions, not just low levels of a given hormone. In the fight against sleep disorders, including those resulting from a deficiency of serotonin, therapists recommend using a weighted (sensory) blanket instead of the traditional one. Using such a cover stimulates the body to produce serotonin and has a positive effect on reducing the level of cortisol, i.e. the stress hormone.
Research carried out by international specialists shows that in people who worry excessively or feel anxious, the brain releases less serotonin in those regions responsible for impulses and control of emotions. Low levels of serotonin are associated with general anxiety disorders, anxiety attack disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorders. If you often feel anxious and insecure, it is important to pay attention to whether your body gives you other signs of inadequate serotonin.
Among the many ailments that can be caused by the inadequate level of serotonin is also the change in libido. The low level of this chemical substance is directly related to increased sexual desire, however, there is simultaneously a decrease in the ability to establish an emotional accord with the other person. It means that we feel the drive, but we don’t feel the other emotions needed to be close to our partner. This is not a recipe for a successful relationship.
Serotonin is a chemical compound very important in maintaining normal cognitive functions. Studies have shown that a sufficient level of this neurotransmitter improves cognitive abilities and can compensate for some limitations. Although it is believed that serotonin plays a role in all thinking abilities, it has the most significant effect on memory. People with low levels of serotonin have more difficulties with memory consolidation.
Sources: AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF NEUROSCIENCE; MedoNet