Serotonin makes us feel calm and sleepy. It is a neurotransmitter of relaxation and digestion. What is of particular interest to us here is that 95% of it is made in the gut. Only 20% is in the brain, the rest is in the guts, where it stimulates peristalsis1 and in the pancreas2.
According to Patrick Holford in his book, ‘How To Quit Without Feeling S***t’, serotonin is responsible for emotional stability, self-confidence, pain tolerance and quality sleep. Symptoms of deficiency include depression, obsessiveness, worry, low self-esteem, sleep disorders, craving for sweets, irritability, fearfulness, tantrums and violence, and sexual promiscuity. Substances used to compensate include alcohol, sugar, chocolate, cigarettes and marijuana.
There are several ways of raising serotonin using drugs, supplements or other more natural ways and I will be exploring these in the next few blogs on this subject.
- Quoting from Collins Dictionary of Medicine, ” It constricts small blood vessels, cuts down acid secretion by the stomach and contracts the muscles in the walls of the intestine” – so vital to keep peristalsis going through the digestive tract. [↩]
- where it serves a very different function which is to do with insulin production [↩]