Serotonin

Medical Specialties: Family practice, Internal medicine, Psychiatry


Clinical Definition

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter made from the amino acid tryptophan. It plays a role in the regulation of sleep, appetite, mood and pain. Serotonin is made and released naturally. Some antidepressant medications act by increasing the availability of serotonin for central signaling to positively affect mood in depressed patients. 


In Our Own Words

Serotonin is a chemical signal involved in sleep, pain, appetite, attention, blood pressure regulation and mood, just to name a few areas. Imbalances in serotonin are known to play a role in depression and other mental illnesses and conditions, including PMS, migraines, sudden infant death syndrome, bone remodeling, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

 

The benefits of good nutrition and exercise are recognized, but the relationships between specific nutrients and their impact on the brain and mood are not yet completely understood.  

Relevant Conditions
  • Caregiver depression/stress
  • Depression
  • PMS
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sources
  • Harvard Medical School. "Medical Dictionary of Health Terms." 2013. http://www.health.harvard.edu/medical-dictionary-of-health-terms. Accessed November 2013.
  • The Cleveland Clinic. "What We Eat Affects How We Feel." February 2009. http://my.clevelandclinic.org. Accessed November 2013.
  • Young, S. "How to increase serotonin in the human brain without drugs." Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience. 2007; 32 (6); pages 394-9. http://www.cma.ca. Accessed November 2013.
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