Upwards of 95% of your serotonin is made in your gut. It is no wonder that the most common side effect of serotonin reuptake inhibitor medications (SSRI’s) is digestive upset.
Now let’s get started!
What is serotonin used for?
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is created by your body and plays a key role in regulating your central nervous system and gastrointestinal function. Here are just a few of serotonin’s effects:
What are signs of low serotonin?
Many clinicians look at monoamine assay testing to try to detect serotonin levels, however this is not an accurate test of serotonin for two key reasons:
The best way to evaluate serotonin levels is by looking at serotonin break down markers, specifically the 5-Hydroxyindoleacetic (5-HIAA) marker in conjunction to your physical symptoms. While serotonin can not cross the blood brain barrier, the metabolic markers can. If the marker is elevated, it is likely that the serotonin it was broken down from was also high, and visa versa. That being said, again, serotonin is made in both the brain and gut. So if we do have elevated break down marker 5-HIAA, we don’t know if that marker came from the brain or from the gut.
Do I have low serotonin? If you answered yes to two or more of the following, consider talking to your Naturopathic Doctor about whether or not your dopamine may be out of balance.
Do I have high serotonin?If you answered yes to two or more of the following, consider talking to your Naturopathic Doctor about whether or not your dopamine may be out of balance.
What can I do if my Serotonin is out of balance?
If you suspect your might benefit from a deeper look into your serotonin levels, you’re in the right place. Learning more about your health and feeling empowered is the first step towards achieving your goals.
In addition to working with your personal Naturopathic Physician on addressing your individual needs, making changes to your diet and lifestyle can make a huge difference in helping you feel like yourself again. For example, if you have low serotonin, you might consider asking your doctor about the Serotonin Diet. Contrastingly if you suspect high serotonin, be sure to avoid the foods listed on the serotonin diet.
The Serotonin Diet: High tryptophan foods/ foods that increase serotonin
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