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What Serotonin Is and Its Important Functions

Published On Oct 20, 2020 5:30 AM By Harshit pandey

What Is Serotonin And What Does It Do?

The human brain is home to complex chemicals that regulate physiological and psychological processes. In short, both movement and mood are controlled by the chemicals inside the mind. There are certain chemicals which are fondly referred to as “happy chemicals”, serotonin is one of them. According to some studies, low serotonin is responsible for mood swings – reiterating the connection to happiness. 

Serotonin is responsible for many bodily functions, including sleeping and eating. It is classified as a neurotransmitter or “chemical messenger” that helps the exchange of information between nerve cells. It is mostly found in the human digestive system, platelets, and throughout the Central Nervous System (CNS).

Some Important Functions Of Serotonin

The Neurotransmitter serotonin performs some very important function in the body and the same are listed below

1-Regulates Sleep: Serotonin regulates sleep. Low serotonin inhibits the production of another chemical - Melatonin - causing sleeplessness and fatigue.

2-Enhances Memory: The serotonin level in the body affects memory a lot and the effect is quite visible as low serotonin levels can cause Alzheimer’s disease.

3-Helps In Formation of Blood Clot: In the case of wounds, platelets in the blood release Serotonin, which causes constriction of the blood vessels (vasoconstriction), thus reducing blood flow. Low serotonin reduces blood clotting ability.

4-Regulates Social Behaviour: Serotonin levels are also important for effective brain functioning and low levels lead to irritation. Low serotonin is linked to increased aggressiveness.

5-Manages Appetite: Serotonin acts as an appetite suppressant. It makes one feel full without much food intake. People with low serotonin often experience “carb cravings”.

6-Aids In Digestion: Serotonin may affect digestion. More than 90% of serotonin is made in the gut. Serotonin in the stomach signals pain, nausea and other digestive issues. Low levels of serotonin in the gut have been linked to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

7-Maintains Bone Health: Serotonin plays a role in bone health. High levels can make bones weaker and may lead to Osteoporosis.

8-Helps With Mood balance: Serotonin has been observed to impact mood balance. Studies have revealed that people in depression often have low levels of serotonin.

How To Treat Serotonin Deficiency?

As noted above, most symptoms for anxiety and depression are caused by low serotonin; hence this condition needs treating. 

The most common prescription drug is an Antidepressant or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI). As the name suggests, SSRIs prevent re-absorption or reuptake of serotonin by the brain, thus increasing its availability.

Natural Serotonin Boosters

The below listed methods and factors are helpful in boosting the level of Serotonin in the body:

1-Diet: Certain foods like cheese, chicken, eggs, fish, pineapple, etc. are found to improve Serotonin levels. 

2-Supplements: Specific supplements for TRYPTOPHAN have also been found to be beneficial.

3-Sunshine: Based on the association of “Winter Blues” with lower levels of Serotonin, Sunlight is recommended as a powerful natural way of boosting serotonin. 10 minutes of sunshine is considered adequate. In cold countries where sunshine is limited, lightbox therapy that mimics natural sunlight is equally effective.

4-Stress Management: Studies have shown that reducing Cortisol, produced due to stress, often helps in boosting serotonin.


Thus we see that serotonin is a powerful chemical that regulates a lot of bodily functions and assumes primary importance in modern times due to its effects over sleep, anxiety and depression. Thus, it is essential to maintain healthy levels of serotonin to maintain optimum regulation of body and mind. Though antidepressants are increasingly becoming safer as effective forms of treatment, yet natural substitutes like diet, exercise, yoga, meditation, and plenty of sunshine seem to be better choices in the long run.

Disclaimer: This article is issued in the general public interest and meant for general information purposes only. Readers are advised not to rely on the contents of the article as conclusive in nature and should research further or consult an expert in this regard.

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