Low Serotonin Levels Can Cause Depression and Anxiety
The primary role of serotonin is to act as a neurotransmitter responsible for sending chemical messages from one part of the brain to the other. The serotonin is being released by the brain from its raphe nucleus which is part of a cluster of neurons found in the stem of the brain. This is where the chemical messages are also being sent into several destinations known as neurochemical networks which are present in all parts of the central nervous system.
Understanding The Crucial Role of Serotonin
The ability of these ‘chemicals’ to reach almost every part of the central nervous system has made significant impacts on our physiological and psychological processes and functions.
Low serotonin and dopamine levels affect us, whereby it can cause anxiety and depression.
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Several studies have already been made to prove the direct and indirect effects of serotonin on a person’s appetite, mood, learning, temperature control, memory, social and sexual behaviors…not to mention symptoms of depression and anxiety.
It has also been proven to influence several functions of the digestive and cardiovascular systems, as well as the muscular and endocrine systems.
The wide scope and broad influence that serotonin has in the human body has lead many experts to agree on one conclusion – one must find ways to be able to increase serotonin levels in the body.
- If not, the person may suffer from several physiological and psychological problems. Some of the most common conditions associated with low levels of serotonin are anxiety and depression.
The Role of Tryptophan in Serotonin Production
Tryptophan is an amino acid that is considered essential because the human body does not have the capability to manufacture it on its own. It acts as a precursor of several neurotransmitters such as serotonin…and since serotonin plays a crucial role in many physiological and psychological processes in the human body it is equally important to note that every person must eat ‘mood foods‘ that contain high levels of tryptophan.
- One obvious reason for this is to help ensure proper functioning of those bodily systems that involve serotonin.
Foods High in Tryptophan
- Milk and Dairy Products
Milk, yogurt and cheese can provide you with tryptophan along with calcium. A cup of low-fat cow’s milk is enough to provide you with 100mg of amino acid. On the other hand, a cup of low-fat yogurt can give you 60 mg of amino acid.
- Nuts, seeds and legumes
These foods are rich sources of tryptophan that do not require much preparation. Having these foods in the kitchen will be your most convenient way of obtaining tryptophan. Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of tryptophan.
Cashews, walnuts, sunflower and almonds can also provide you with 50 mg. of tryptophan for each ¼ cup of serving. Kidney beans, peanut, lentils and split peas are rich sources of tryptophan and protein.
- Meat and Fish
Beef liver, mutton, chicken breast, turkey breast, calf liver, and venison are few examples of meat that contain high levels of tryptophan. On the other hand, eating sea foods such as halibut, salmon, tuna, cod, shrimp, scallops, and sardines can also provide you with rich food sources.
All animal meat contains high levels but turkey has the highest!
Here’s a word of caution – turkey makes you sleepy because of the high levels…so make sure you eat it knowing you could feel sleepy 🙂
Do you know any foods that reduce anxiety and help raise your serotonin levels? Let me know in the comments below!