- Serotonin - happiness is not only in the head
- Serotonin and Depression
How are serotonin and depression
Many scientists believe that serotonin imbalance affects the mood, so that this can lead to depression. Among the possible problems of low production of serotonin cells in the brain, lack of cell receptors of serotonin, the inability to reach serotonin receptors, the lack of tryptophan. According to the researchers, if there is one of these biochemical problems are possible consequences of such as depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, panic, anger attacks.
One theory on the development of depression is that the regeneration of marrow cells - a process which takes place by means of serotonin throughout our lives. Depression, according to this theory, occurs when cells are suppressed, which may occur due to stress
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. Antidepressants, which are designed to increase the level of serotonin contribute to the emergence of new brain cells, which in turn allows you to get rid of depression.
Although the notion that a lack of serotonin plays a role in causing depression is widespread, there is no way to measure its levels in the brain. Therefore, there is no reliable data on the level of serotonin in the development of depression or mental disorders. You can measure the level of serotonin in the blood - and it turns out to be lower in people who suffer from depression - but the scientists can not say whether reflects the level of serotonin in the blood of its level in the brain.
In addition, scientists do not know is whether the fall in the level of serotonin depression, or vice versa, depression causes a drop in serotonin levels.
Antidepressants that affect serotonin levels - selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and noradrenaline (SIOZSiN) - reduce the symptoms of depression
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But their mechanism of action is not fully understood.
Can diet affect the level of serotonin
Can, but only indirectly. Unlike, for example, the calcium level in the blood which can be increased by eating foods rich in calcium, there are no products that directly would increase the level of serotonin. However, some products may increase the level of tryptophan, an amino acid, which is produced from serotonin.
Protein-rich foods such as meat or poultry, contains large amounts of tryptophan. It is also found in dairy products, and nuts. However, oddly enough, the levels of serotonin and tryptophan are reduced immediately after a meal rich in protein. Why is this happening? The blood is too much tryptophan and other amino acids, they seem to vie for something to get into the brain. But there gets only a small amount of tryptophan and serotonin levels are not increased.
However, if you'll use food rich in carbohydrates, it triggers the release of insulin
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. This in turn causes an amino acid in the blood absorbed into the cells of the body, but not the brain. The only exception is tryptophan. It remains in the blood in large quantities and can freely get into the brain, therefore, increase the level of serotonin.
It can still help sufficient amount of vitamin B-6, which affects the level of tryptophan is converted into serotonin.
Does exercise increase the level of serotonin
Exercises improve mood. Studies show that regular exercise can be as effective in treating depression as medication or psychotherapy. Previously it was thought that the necessary regular classes for a few weeks to notice the influence of this depression, but recent studies show that even forty-minute workout is enough to have an immediate effect on mood.
The exact mechanism of the effect of sport on mood is not yet clear. Some scientists believe that exercise affect the level of serotonin, but the precise evidence of this yet.
What is serotonin syndrome
Antidepressants SSRIs are generally considered safe. However, there are rare side effects - serotonin syndrome, which can occur when serotonin levels in the brain rise too much. Usually this happens when simultaneously using two or more drugs that affect serotonin levels.
For example, if you are taking medication for migraine triptans and SSRIs for depression at the same time, resulting in serotonin levels can be significantly higher than the normal range. The same can happen if you are taking food supplements
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SSRIs, such as those containing St. John's wort.
Problems may arise at the beginning of the medication or with increasing dosage. It is also possible the emergence of serotonin syndrome when combined with SSRIs to older antidepressants known as MAOIs. Finally, the syndrome can cause drug - ecstasy or LSD.
The syndrome manifests itself in a few minutes or even hours after taking the drug, symptoms include restlessness, hallucinations, increased heart rate, fever, sweating, loss of coordination, muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and pressure surges.
Although this is a rare complication, it is dangerous and requires emergency medical assistance. Treatment involves the abolition of the drug, dropper, receiving muscle relaxants and drugs that block the production of serotonin.