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Of all mental illnesses, depression is the most frequent and treatable. In the course of a lifetime, one in every 10 men and one in every four women suffer from depression. In studies, it has been discovered that those that suffer from depression have neurotransmitters that are imbalanced. Neurotransmitters are natural substances that enable the communication of one brain cell from another. There are two neurotransmitters that are implicated in depression.


They are serotonin and norepinephrine. Neurotransmitters are potent chemicals that control several physical and emotional processes like a response to pain, emotional states and mental performance. Neurotransmitters almost control all functions in life. Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter with several vital functions in the body and brain.


Mood problems are normally caused by a deficiency of serotonin. For some, it has become an epidemic in the United States, as reported in www.medicinedirect.co.uk . For our general feeling of happiness, serotonin is very essential. It has a significant impact on our emotions as it safeguards it from depression and anxiety. In recent times, there are lot biochemical theories on depression. These theories of depression concentrate on the biogenic amines, which are a collection of chemical compounds essential in neurotransmission. The most important of these compounds are norepinephrine, serotonin and, to a smaller extent, epinephrine, acetylcholine and dopamine.


What Are The Causes Of Serotonin Deficiency?

There are some reasons why we are deficient in serotonin.


When we are stressed for a long time, our serotonin levels tend to deplete. Our society of fast food and being fast-paced significantly lead to these imbalances. Prolonged periods of stress can deplete serotonin levels. Our fast-paced, fast food society greatly contributes to these imbalances.

Poor Diet:

In the body, neurotransmitters are created from proteins. Some minerals and vitamins like cofactors are also needed. Those who have poor nutrition and fail to take in sufficient minerals, vitamins and proteins that would build their neurotransmitters, develop a neurotransmitter imbalance. Whatever we eat, we end up thinking and feeling.

Genetic factors:

When our metabolisms don't work, and we have digestive issues, the absorption and breakdown of our food are compromised. This lessens our ability to build serotonin.

Toxic substances:

Pesticides, heavy metals, medicine use and certain prescription medicines can result in a permanent damage to our nerve cells that create serotonin and other neurotransmitters.

Some drugs and substances:

This includes nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, antidepressants, NutraSweet, and certain cholesterol-lowering drugs. They drain serotonin and levels of neurotransmitters.

Other causes:

Changes in hormone can lead to low serotonin levels and cause neurotransmitter imbalances. Insufficient sunlight also leads to low levels of serotonin.

Symptoms of Serotonin Deficiency

One can have a reduced level of serotonin when they are in a sad and depressed mood. They also have a reduced desire for sex, negative thoughts and low energy, tension and irritable feelings, and craving for sweets. Other serotonin associated syndromes include:



Anxiety Attacks


Irritable Bowel


Eating disorders

Muscle pain

Prolonged Pain


Alcohol misuse

Migraine Headaches

PMS/ Hormone dysfunction

Obsessions and Compulsions


Finding Out When Serotonin Is Deficient?


To find out if your serotonin is deficient you can use questionnaires, blood test and neurotransmitter testing. Some test will help you find out if the precursors and cofactor minerals and vitamins that the brain needs to create serotonin are at normal levels. Furthermore, hormones like Thyroid, Adrenal, and Estrogen levels can impact serotonin levels. This might be the reason why certain women suffer from pre-menstrual and menopausal mood problems.


Natural Ways Serotonin Levels Can Be Raised


Prescription medicines like Lexapro, Paxil, Zoloft and Prozac are categorized as SSRI's or serotonin reuptake inhibitors. They help to preserve more of the serotonin your brain creates in circulation. They are utilized for a wide-ranging symptom like obsessions and compulsions, downheartedness, anxiety attacks, panic and PTSD. Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI's) like Effexor and Cymbalta, exists that preserve more serotonin and norepinephrine that circulates. Targeted Amino Acid Therapy is nutrient therapies that naturally raise the levels of neurotransmitters that someone has a deficiency in. 5 hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) and Tryptophan are generally known for their ability to treat depressive symptoms by increasing the level of serotonin in the brain. Many clinical tests have studied the efficacy of 5-HTP for curing depression. One likened 5-HTP to fluvoxamine, an antidepressant drug and discovered that 5-HTP can be just as effective. It can be used on its own or together with other drugs to maintain a low dosage and to avoid the 'poop out' several people go through with the use of the drug.


Tryptophan -> 5 hydroxytryptophan -> serotonin


There are also herbal solutions like St. John's Wort that is obtainable and can be used to ease anxiety and depression symptoms.


Some work just like the SSRI antidepressants.


There are certain things that can be done to raise your level of serotonin and improve your general health:


Do a 30 minutes exercise at least three times a week

Walk, yoga, stretch

Be open to sunlight

Take up to 8 glasses of water a day

Pray and meditate

Do not skip meals; eat three times daily, to avoid low energy and high stress.

Add protein to every meal

Go for complex carbs like brown rice

Avoid the white stuff- bread, rice, pasta, and also sugar, junk food, cake and cookies.

Reduce caffeine and alcohol; it can make sleep problems, depression and anxiety worsen NutraSweet (aspartame) too, toxify your brain.


Supplements That Can Help


Daily multivitamin Fish oil pill EPA/DHA together 2000mg daily L-Tryptophan 1000 mg sleep time 5HTP 300 mg every day Serene 3 pills every day Serotone 3 pills every day