In the last couple of weeks I was introduced to a book that I found fascinating, called The Brain in Love: 12 Lessons to Enhance Your Love Life by Daniel G. Amen M.D. I picked it up while at a local bookstore, featured in part because of Valentine’s Day. I opened the book, turning directly to the oxytocin sections (since I had recently written a series of articles about oxytocin) to see if I could learn anything else.
Over the next hour I spent perusing the book, I learned so much about several other hormones and neurotransmitters that chemically impact our emotions and the way we interact in relationships.
Hormones are chemical messengers that send signals from one organ to another. Neurotransmitters are also a chemical messengers, specifically programmed to send information from nerve cells to other nerve muscles or organ cells. Some substances can act as a hormone in one area of the body and a neurotransmitter in another part of the body.
Today I want to talk about serotonin, which acts as a neurotransmitter and a hormone. Serotonin has been shown to affect mood and sleep, memory and learning, sexual desire and function, social behavior, temperature regulation and digestive function. Serotonin has to be produced in our bodies because we cannot get it directly from our food. Our bodies get the materials necessary to create it from proteins in our diet and then manufacture it from there.
The main building block for serotonin is an amino acid called L-tryptophan which is found in high amounts in dairy foods, nuts, chicken, turkey. Ninety percent of serotonin that is produced in our body is found in our digestive system and blood platelets; the other 10 percent is found in the brain.
Serotonin has an impact on several different body systems, however, most articles I found relating to serotonin talk about its relation to depression and the brain. Even though there is a strong belief that low levels or deficiency of serotonin in the brain play a role in depression, there is no way to accurately measure the serotonin levels in the brain.
Studies have shown that low levels of serotonin in the blood are found in people diagnosed with depression. Therefore, it is not clear whether depression causes a decrease in serotonin or if it decreases and serotonin causes depression. What is clear is that there are strong correlations between depression and serotonin levels.
Next time I'll discuss how serotonin impacts sleep and digestion, as well as our sexual desires.
Until then live vibrantly,
Dr. Dae's website: www.healthydaes.com
Dr. Dae's book: Daelicious! Recipes for Vibrant Living can be purchased @ www.healthydaes.com
Dr. Dae's Bio:
“Dr. Dae" (pronounced Dr. Day) Daemon Jones is a Naturopathic Physician who completed her training at the University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine. She is certified as a General Practitioner by the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners (NABNE). Dr. Dae provides tailored treatment to meet the unique needs of every individual she sees in her practice. She also provides specialized support for persons challenged by nutritional deficiencies, weight problems, hormonal and reproductive system disorders, attention deficit disorder and those experiencing chronic diseases. Dr. Dae is an adjunct faculty member for Smith Farm Center for Healing and the Arts. She is the author of Daelicious! Recipes for Vibrant Living. Dr. Dae is a featured chef with www.myfoodmyhealth.com. Dr. Dae is a regularly featured writer for the Elite GoogleNews Website empowher.com where she shares her personal and professional vision for living whole and living well. To learn more about Dr. Dae, her products and services, please visit her on the Web at www.Healthydaes.com.
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