What is Serotonin
I need to get a little scientific today. The only way to understand your anxiety disorder and how to overcome it, is by learning a few basic facts. Couple these facts with your personal experiences and you will end up with logical conclusions.
Serotonin, or 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), is a neurotransmitter in the body that contributes to feelings of well-being and stabilizes mood. Low serotonin is connected to anxiety and depression. Serotonin is derived from the amino acid “tryptophan”, which cannot be made in the body. This amino acid – tryptophan, is only obtained through diet.
Tryptophan Converts to Serotonin
If a Serotonin deficiency is the root cause to my anxiety disorder, then I need to get to the bottom of it. I am a research junkie and reading one article led me to another one and to another one and to ANOTHER ONE!! I read so much data that I created a diagram to try to understand it all.
Tryptophan is only in food
- A low carbohydrate/high protein diet more likely sends tryptophan to the intestinal tract.
- In the intestinal tract, tryptophan is metabolized into Serotonin and STORED.
- The Serotonin in the intestinal tract regulates bowel function. It does not make it to the brain.
- A high carbohydrate/low protein diet more likely sends tryptophan to the BRAIN.A transporter pump transports tryptophan and other amino acids to the brain.
- Tryptophan has to compete with other Amino Acids to make it to the BRAIN.
- In the BRAIN Tryptophan is converted to Serotonin as well.
- It is only the Serotonin made in the BRAIN that affects ANXIETY.
Please don’t go on a carbohydrate binge now! As usual, it is not that simple. I will be writing another post on diet. In the meantime, try to eat well-balanced meals, avoiding none of the macro nutrients!
Serotonin Also Effects Sleep by Making Melatonin
- The Pineal Gland in the BRAIN uses Serotonin to make Melatonin
- Melatonin regulates SLEEP
It is no wonder that if you have an anxiety disorder, you usually have trouble sleeping!
Tryptophan, Serotonin, Melatonin and Gut Health
After doing this research, it seems that the serotonin in the gut does not have anything to do with the serotonin in your brain! Since it is the serotonin in the brain that affects anxiety, it appears that gut health has little to do with it. Yes, most of our serotonin is in the “gut” or gastrointestinal tract and it has many important functions there, but it is the serotonin in the BRAIN that affects mental health.
Now that we know that an anxiety disorder is a result of low serotonin, or a “chemical imbalance”, we can continue researching WHY it is low and how to change that! Stay tuned for my next post!
Have you heard about these amino acids and hormones? Have you seen these supplements in the store – 5HTP, or L-tryptophan? Does anyone take them and did they work?
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