How can we detect low serotonin levels? What signs can indicate that there is a deregulation of this neurotransmitter? Discover the main signs and what to do about it.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in regulating our mood, movement, learning, and many other functions. By having low serotonin, our body sees nerve signals weakened, which can contribute to experiencing depression, and even other adverse effects on a physical and mental level. So how can we know if we have low serotonin levels?
How do I know if I have low serotonin levels?
We can detect that we have low levels of serotonin because this neurotransmitter does not act autonomously within our body. Conversely, people with serotonin deficiency often experience metabolic problems, as well as other health problems. Mainly, some of the signs that may indicate that there is a lack of serotonin are the following:
Depression: Research suggests that there is a relationship between the development of a depressive disorder and serotonin. Still, this may be because depression is related to stressful or traumatic life events, which can influence serotonin levels. That is, serotonin deficiency can be both a cause and a result of depression.
Changes in sleep: Serotonin is also crucial for regulating our body’s internal clock, which means that it can cause deficiencies in our rest and sleep if it doesn’t work properly. Therefore, one of the signs that you have low serotonin levels may be chronic fatigue, insomnia, or experiencing unusual sleep patterns.
Memory or learning problems: Some studies have linked serotonin to the areas of our brain responsible for memory and learning. Consequently, its deficiency can affect these cognitive functions. In addition, other symptoms related to low serotonin levels, such as lack of sleep and depression, can also cause difficulties with good concentration and learning.
Anxiety: Another symptom that there may be a lack of serotonin is experiencing anxiety. Anxiety that can be caused by low serotonin usually comes on suddenly and is not related to something else, such as a recent trauma or stressor.
Schizophrenia: Different studies have found a link between low serotonin levels and schizophrenia. In fact, some of your symptoms such as unusual behaviors, auditory or visual hallucinations, or sudden mood swings may be due to a lack of serotonin,
Lack of sexual desire: Serotonin also affects our sexual functions. That is, the lower the serotonin levels, the less interest in sexual behaviors.
Appetite problems: People with a lack of serotonin may also experience appetite problems or even eating disorders. This may involve overeating or, conversely, not eating enough.
Hyperactivity: Low serotonin levels can also cause symptoms similar to those experienced by attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. That is, the person may have trouble concentrating, be constantly restless, chronically bored, or unable to rest.
Dementia: Some research suggests that low serotonin may also be linked to dementia and may even be an early warning sign of these diseases.
These are some of the main signs that could indicate that you have low serotonin levels. Likewise, if you think you may be experiencing any of these problems in your mental health, it is vital that you go to a professional psychologist.
Why do I have low serotonin?
In most cases of serotonin deficiency, specialists do not find the specific cause. Even so, some of the factors that can influence are the following:
Hormonal changes: These can occur due to menopause, pregnancy or advanced age.
Lack of sunlight: The sun influences the production of serotonin, therefore, if you do not have much contact with sunlight, this can cause low levels of serotonin.
Poor nutrition: Having an unhealthy diet can also influence the segregation of serotonin.
Drugs or taking drugs: Different medications or drugs can affect our serotonin levels, especially if they are used excessively or for a long period of time.
Chronic stress: The presence of excess cortisol in our body, due to excessive stress, can reduce serotonin levels.
How to ‘raise’ serotonin?
There are some ways in which you can increase the serotonin in your body, among the most effective we can highlight the following:
Exercise regularly: Exercise can raise our brain’s serotonin levels and increase both production and release in our brain.
Take care of your diet: Eating foods that have tryptophan can help to secrete higher levels of serotonin. Among some foods that can help you increase serotonin in your body are vitamin D, B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids.
Learn stress management techniques: As we have mentioned, chronic stress can affect the way our brain processes or produces serotonin. Therefore, by learning to better manage stress, people will be able to increase levels of this neurotransmitter.
Go to therapy: Several studies suggest that therapy with a professional psychologist can regulate serotonin activity.
As we see having low levels of serotonin can end up affecting our physical and mental health, so it is vital that we take care of both our interior and exterior to live a full life.