Serotonin: Nature's Feel-Good Chemical
by Sandi L. Young

Have you ever experienced any of these feelings? Sadness when it’s cloudy and rainy for several days in a row, melancholy during the winter months when it it’s dark, mid-afternoon cravings for sweets, carbohydrate-bingeing when you’ re under stress, difficulty losing weight because of an uncontrolled appetite, low self-esteem, depression and anxiety; frequent headaches; for women: irritability, bloating, cravings for chocolate right before menstruating; chronic fatigue when and muscle aches when you haven’t been pushing the limit at the gym?

If so, you may be suffering from serotonin imbalance. Serotonin is a natural body chemical messenger that performs most of its functions in the brain. The body makes serotonin out of a chemical called tryptophan found in a variety of food sources and in high amounts in carbohydrates, such as sweets and breads.

When a person suffers from serotonin deficiency, the brain subconsciously makes that person seek the foods that have high levels of tryptophan. This explains why a number of people crave that candy bar when they get under much stress. Serotonin is present incredibly small amounts in the body, but yet, when it’s out of balance, many significant problems can occur. Of all the chemicals present in the brain, healthy serotonin levels are probably the most important for the maintenance of an overall sensation of well-being. That’s why serotonin is in fact, Mother Nature’s “feel-good chemical!”

When the sunlight shines on our eyes, this transmits a signal from the eye to the brain to make more serotonin. That explains why we often feel sad when it’s cloudy, dark and rainy outside. The fact is, we’re making less serotonin. Although both men and women can experience serotonin deficiency, women are more prone to this, especially around their menstrual periods and menopause. Many women do notice feelings of sadness, irritability and headaches during these times of their lives, once again caused by serotonin imbalance.

Serotonin is found in certain nuts and fruits like bananas which contain a high amount. Wouldn’t it be really great to eat a bunch of bananas and spend the rest of the day smiling because you’re so happy? Here’s why this won’t work (and this has nothing to do with the price of bananas). When you eat the foods that contain serotonin, the body has certain enzymes in the bloodstream that destroy the serotonin, preventing it from reaching the brain. Because the major functions of serotonin exists in the brain, if the serotonin cannot reach the brain, it won’t be effective.

Medical science has developed a number of prescription medications that artificially and indirectly raise serotonin levels by causing different serotonin receptors to react differently in the brain. Prescription drugs like Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil and other SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) recirculate serotonin in the brain to targeted receptors but they don’t actually raise serotonin levels. There have been serious side-effects reported from these types of medications from severe depression resulting in suicide to rage attacks.

Several prescription appetite suppressant medications, such as Meridia, work at a different serotonin receptor responsible for appetite. People who stop smoking can relate to the following explanation: Nicotine that is present in cigarettes makes the brain release more serotonin at the appetite suppressant receptors, so when the person stops smoking, serotonin levels drop at this receptor causing the ex-smoker to become very hungry. These appetite suppressants may work initially, but they do not work over the long haul since they do not do anything to balance serotonin levels in the brain. They exert their effects indirectly by inhibiting the reuptake carrier.

There are still other, different serotonin receptors present in the brain that are associated with migraine headaches, motility of the food in your intestines and a number of other important body systems. Indeed, when serotonin is imbalanced, many problems may occur.

Several over-the-counter dietary supplements exert their effects by indirectly raising serotonin levels. The active ingredient in St. John’s wort raises serotonin levels by inhibiting some of the natural blood chemicals that break down serotonin. 5-HTP is yet another supplement that raises serotonin levels because it is a serotonin “precursor,” that is, a chemical which the body then converts into serotonin. There are natural sources including foods as well as dietary supplements that you can utilize to naturally boost your brain’s own serotonin levels.

Serotab is a brand new patented supplement that is the first supplement to contain serotonin and deliver it effectively to the brain. For more information about Serotab, please visit: www.serotab.com or call 1-866-473-7682