Serotonin | Function Of Serotonin And Levels | Serotonin Syndrome

Serotonin Neurotransmitter

Insomnia is associated with lack of serotonin. Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter that is necessary to your survival.

Serotonin plays a role in behavior, mood, physical coordination, body temperature, appetite and sleep.

It can also be converted into melatonin by the brain.

Function of serotonin:

Serotonin is produced in the brain and influence the functioning of cardiovascular, immune, renal and gastrointestinal systems. The brain is made up of cells called neurons.

These neurons communicate among themselves to regulate all your body processes. The neurons are joined by axons and dendrites. The messages are taken away from the brain by axon and messages are sent to the brain by dendrites.

The place where axons and dendrites meet is called synapses. This is the job of the neurotransmitter. This chemical carries the message. This chemical shows strongest effects on mood. It is also found in the guts and in the walls of blood vessels.

It helps regulate the expansion and contraction of blood vessels and the function of platelets, the blood cells that cause blood to coagulate and close a wound.

It causes smooth muscles to contract such as abdominal muscles that aid digestion by pushing food through the gastrointestinal tract.

Serotonin has a role in circadian rhythm as well. Sleep deprivation causes imbalances to circadian rhythm. Since sleep deprivation is associated with this neurotransmitter, circadian rhythm, sleep and serotonin all are related. This neurotransmitter controls certain stages of sleep, especially sleep wake cycle.

Serotonin level:

Serotonin levels fluctuate rhythmically on a 24 hour cycle. This fluctuation is regulated by day-night cycle such that interruptions in the normal period of sleep or activity could disturb the normal serotonin rhythm.

To make the serotonin level, hormones and neurotransmitters consistent, sleep patterns should be consistent.

Brain depression can result due to lack of this neurotransmitter. Extreme stress can also cause low levels of this transmitter. If your diet does not consist of necessary vitamins and minerals, deficiency of the neurotransmitter can be caused.

If you are exposed to toxic substances like heavy metals and pesticides, serotonin can be decreased. Changes in your hormones decrease the levels of this neurotransmitter.

Certain drugs and substances like caffeine, nicotene, alcohol, and antidepressants deplete serotonin. Lack of sunlight also contributes to low levels of this neurotransmitter.

Low serotonin level is associated with increased carbohydrate cravings and heightened sensitivity to pain.

Exercise and serotonin:

Exercise and sleep changes the levels of this neurotransmitter in the brain. The electrical activity of serotonergic neurons in the brain increases during physical activity.

Serotonin and dopamine levels in the blood increase during exercise. Therefore, with exercise levels of this neurotransmitter increase and depression may be reduced.

Serotonin syndrome:

Extreme high levels of serotonin can have toxic and potentially side effects causing a condition known as serotonin syndrome. The intensity of the symptoms of serotonin syndrome varies and the milder forms are seen even at non-toxic levels.

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