5 Things You Need to Know About Serotonin

1. Serotonin is a compound used in the chemical transfer of information from one cell to another. Serotonin also plays a role in the state of relaxation or constriction of blood vessels. All of the serotonin normally in the blood is stored in the platelets and is released by platelet aggregation.

– Michael T. Murray, N.D., Joseph E. Pizzorno, N.D., Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Revised Second Edition

2. Disturbances in serotonin levels are associated with most headaches. In migraines, serotonin levels increase before onset and then decrease during the headache phase. In chronic tension headaches, serotonin levels remain low all the time. As a result of lower serotonin levels, nerve impulses move along the trigeminal nerve to blood vessels in the meninges, the brain’s outer covering. This causes blood vessels in the meninges to dilate and become inflamed and swollen. The result is a headache

– Phyllis A. Balch, CNC, Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 4th Edition: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food Supplements

3. Carbohydrate cravings for foods such as bread, pasta, chips, and sweets stem from the lowered levels of the brain chemical, serotonin, in women right before and during their menses. Those who suffer from intense PMS symptoms report the most acute problems dealing with food cravings, which can be attributed to the same source: low serotonin.

– Doreen Virtue, Ph.D., Constant Craving: What Your Food Cravings Mean and How to Overcome Them

4. Vitamin B6 is needed for the body to make serotonin, an important brain chemical. In fact, serotonin is the focus of intense research right now among scientists seeking biological explanations for depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

– Patricia Hausman & Judith Benn Hurley, The Healing Foods: The Ultimate Authority on the Curative Power of Nutrition

5. Even negative emotions and so-called sour moods can stimulate the secretion of cortisol and adrenaline and reduce the production of serotonin. Brooding about bad things that have happened to you in life, being irritable, or harboring resentment and anger all help sustain a stress-hormone response. In the long term, such bad moods can suppress normal DNA synthesis, reduce production of new brain cells, and reshape brain-cell connections in undesirable ways, helping set the stage for chronic depression or anxiety.

– Jack Challem, Feed Your Genes Right: Eat to Turn Off Disease-Causing Genes and Slow Down Aging


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