The Analyst™

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Healthy

  Low Serotonin Level  
 
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Signs, symptoms and indicators | Conditions that suggest it | It can lead to... | Recommendations

 

When serotonin levels are low, many psychological problems can develop including serious depression. Serotonin levels are not routinely checked before prescribing serotonin-elevating agents. Since blood serotonin levels correlate poorly with brain levels, a therapeutic trial with agents that are known to raise levels is a reasonable and cost-effective approach.

One must be cautious not to combine too many SRIs (Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) such as Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Effexor, St. John's Wort (hypericum), and 5HTP to avoid the medical condition known as serotonin syndrome. Here the brain has too much serotonin (the opposite of what happens in depression) and this may result in symptoms such as sweating, agitation, confusion, lethargy, tremor, and muscle jerks. If such symptoms occur, consult your doctor immediately.
 

 
 

Signs, symptoms & indicators of Low Serotonin Level:
 
 
Symptoms - Food - Beverages  No desire/inability to recover from alcoholism or being a recovering alcoholic

Symptoms - Food - Preferences

  Craving but not/craving and eating wheat

Symptoms - General

  History of/having a CFS diagnosis

Symptoms - Mind - Emotional

  Emotional instability

Symptoms - Sleep

  Being a light sleeper
 
 

Conditions that suggest Low Serotonin Level:
 
 
Diet  Sugar Craving

Immunity

  Chronic Fatigue / Fibromyalgia Syndrome

Mental

  Depression
 Serotonin levels can dictate if you feel depressed or not. Antidepressant medications like Paxil, Zoloft, St. John's Wort, and Prozac work by preventing serotonin destruction and loss. These antidepressants inhibit serotonin uptake ( or reuptake) by the neurons in the brains. Low serotonin levels cause depression.

  Anxiety
 Serotonin levels are often low among people with anxiety disorders.

  Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
 Although the exact cause is not known, experts believe that OCD may be caused by low levels of a chemical in the brain called serotonin.

Metabolic

  Insomnia
 Serotonin is the precursor to melatonin. As such, low levels may be associated with low levels of melatonin and thus produce insomnia.

  Bulimic Tendency
  Problem Caused By Being Overweight
  Headaches, Migraine/Tension

Musculo-Skeletal

  Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) / Periodic Limb Moveme
 See the treatment link between RLS and tryptophan/5HPT.
 
 

Low Serotonin Level can lead to:
 
 
Mental  Schizophrenia
 Too much or too little serotonin has been associated with depression, psychosis, and other problems.
 
 

Recommendations for Low Serotonin Level:
 
 
Amino Acid / Protein  Tryptophan / 5 HTP
 Tryptophan is the dietary amino acid precursor for production of serotonin in the body. First it is converted into 5HTP, and then into serotonin. Both supplements are available, but tryptophan may require a doctor's prescription. It is recommended that these be taken under a doctor's supervision.

Habits

  Sunlight / Light Exposure
 Serotonin, the brain hormone associated with mood elevation, rises with exposure to bright light, and falls with decreased sun exposure. This has been proven by many scientific studies, including one reported in the well-respected medical journal Lancet in 2002. This study measured blood levels of serotonin, finding that production of serotonin by the brain was directly related to the duration of bright sunlight.
 
 


KEY
Weak or unproven link
Strong or generally accepted link
Likely to help
Highly recommended