Serotonin Deficiency

What is Serotonin Deficiency?

Serotonin is a chemical substance found in the brain which conveys signals between brain cells or neurons as well as controlling their power. Serotonin is produced in your brain and intestines and it assists in keeping good moods1. Insufficient serotonin levels leads to a condition known as serotonin deficiency. Low levels of serotonin impair your body’s psychological and physiological functions.

serotonin deficiency

Benefits of Serotonin

Serotonin offers tremendous health benefits to you such as2, 5:

  • It promotes the health of your heart: Serotonin assists in lowering heart complications such as heart attack and stroke.
  • It helps in brain development: Serotonin supports your brain cells to mature properly.
  • It boosts the health of your skin: Serotonin helps reduce depression, anxiety and makes you relax. By minimizing factors that contributes to unhealthy skin, serotonin makes your skin glow thus enhancing its health.
  • It provides relief from headaches and migraines.
  • It enhances your moods and help lower anxiety and depression.

Causes of Serotonin Deficiency

Low serotonin deficiency can be caused by many factors such as3, 4:

  • Stress: Leading a stressful life can decrease serotonin levels in your body.
  • Poor diet: Proteins are used to make neurotransmitters in your body. Minerals and vitamins are also needed in this process. Eating a diet without sufficient vitamins, minerals and proteins affect the making of neurotransmitters in your body. For instance, Vitamin B 6 is used to manufacture serotonin from tryptophan. Low levels of Vitamin B 6 affect the synthesis of serotonin leading to a drop in its level.
  • Similarly, tryptophan is an amino acid that makes serotonin. It is obtained from foods such as poultry, meat and nuts. Eating foods with low levels of tryptophan affect the synthesis of serotonin. This lowers the level of serotonin, a type of neurotransmitter in your body leading to serotonin deficiency.
  • In addition, a diet low in carbohydrates but rich in proteins affect production of serotonin. This kind of diet lowers tryptophan and other amino acids in the body which causes a decrease in serotonin levels.
  • Toxic substances: Harmful substances can decrease serotonin levels in your body. Toxic substances such as mercury, lead and chemicals like pesticide can destroy nerve cells that produce serotonin in your body. This leads to a drop in the serotonin produced in the body.
  • Drugs: Certain drugs can lower serotonin level in your body. For instance, nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, antidepressants and certain drugs that lower cholesterol can reduce the level of serotonin in your body.
  • Hormonal changes: Fluctuations in your hormones has a negative impact on the level of neurotransmitters. These hormonal changes cause the level of serotonin and other neurotransmitters to drop.

Effects of Serotonin Deficiency

Low serotonin levels in your body can cause many undesirable side effects that may make you lead unproductive life. These effects include1, 5:

serotonin deficiency symptoms

serotonin deficiency effects

It blocks digestive system

Normally, digestive system muscles contract to move food and liquid along it. Sufficient serotonin enhances gut muscle performance. In case the level of serotonin drops, it lowers the quantity of calcium released from the cells which is needed for strong muscles. This impairs contraction of gut muscles which causes blockage in your digestive system as a result of food not moving properly.

It affects blood flow

Flow of blood around your body need muscles to contract properly. In case serotonin levels are low in your body, your muscles won’t contract properly as a result flow of blood around the body is disrupted. This can lead to many serious health complications such as cardiovascular problems and stroke.

It lowers the ability of blood to clot

Serotonin helps in clotting process. Hence, a major drop in serotonin levels impairs the clotting process which can make you bleed a lot from an injury.

It may cause constipation

Most of serotonin is made and kept in the digestive system. A drop in serotonin levels has a major negative impact on your digestive system function. It makes gut muscles weak to contract which cause constipation as well as make it difficult to pass bowel or stool.

Other negative health effects of low serotonin levels include:

  • It causes memory loss; you will not be able to remember or recall things when serotonin levels drops in your body.
  • It causes anxiety and depression
  • It causes severe headaches called migraines.
  • It leads to more aggressive behavior in people.
  • It makes an individual have fear or phobia to socialize.
  • It causes sleeping problems in people.

How To Increase Serotonin Levels?

There are several ways through which an individual can increase serotonin levels and enhance his/her overall health: They include3, 6:


There are certain drugs that can be prescribed to raise the level of serotonin in your body. Serotonin reuptake inhibitors have been used to boost circulation of serotonin in your brain. Examples of Serotonin reuptake inhibitors are Lexapro, Zoloft and Paxil. These drugs should not be used for a long period of time since they can worsen your serotonin deficiency.

Nutrient therapies

Use of certain nutrient therapies can elevate your level of serotonin in the body. For example, your doctor can suggest use of targeted amino acid therapy to boost your serotonin levels. An example of such therapy is Tryptophan which can be used alone or with other medications.


Eat a healthy diet to raise your serotonin levels. Eat food rich in proteins, vitamins and carbohydrates. You can eat brown rice which is rich in carbohydrates. Eat food rich in tryptophan with a healthy carbohydrate diet can improve neurotransmitters level in your body.

Avoid foods such as white rice, white bread, cake, cookies, sugar, etc. Also stop caffeine and alcohol because they can worsen your anxiety, sleeping problems and depression.


Regular exercise boosts your energy levels and reduces psychological problems such as depression and anxiety. You can walk, run, stretch or do yoga exercises to keep yourself active.

Get enough sunlight

Sunlight is vital in alleviating anxiety and depression. Get outside and expose yourself to the sun to obtain Vitamin D. This vitamin is good because it helps lessen depression and improve your moods.

Reference List

  1. Serotonin Deficiency –
  6. Serotonin Deficiency – Symptoms, Signs, Treatment. Available at

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