Do you know the hormones that are essential for the body? There are many that are key factors in good health, but one of the most important is serotonin. This hormone is known as the ‘feel good’ hormone, and it offers a lot of health benefits. Keep reading to learn more!
What is Serotonin?
Serotonin is a chemical that has a lot of functions. Sometimes referred to as the happy chemical, it contributes to the happiness and well-being of a person. Scientifically known as 5-hydroxytryptamine, or the 5-HT, it is found in the blood platelets, bowels and brain.
Serotonin is used to transmit messages between nerve cells, and it is also active in the construction of smooth muscles. Since it is the precursor for melatonin, it is beneficial in regulating the body’s sleep-wake cycle and internal clock.
Serotonin is made through a biochemical conversion process which combines tryptophan, a protein component, and tryptophan hydroxylase, a chemical reactor. It is thought to play a role in appetite, motor functions, emotions and automatic and cognitive functions. Low serotonin levels have been linked to depression, and if levels are low throughout the body, it is believed to influence a variety of psychological and bodily functions. It’s important to note that the hormone is unable to cross the blood-brain barrier, so any serotonin that the brain uses is only produced in the brain.
Function of Serotonin
Since it is a neurotransmitter, serotonin relays the signals between the nerve cells and neurons. This is essential in regulating their intensity.
It plays a major role in the central nervous system, as well as in general bodily function, particularly the gastrointestinal tract. Studies have found links between the hormone and cell division, liver regeneration, production of breast milk and bone metabolism. Serotonin influences most of the brain cells both directly and indirectly.
- Sexual Function. Serotonin has been shown to inhibit sexual activity.
- Bone Density. Some researchers have connected high levels of serotonin in the bones to higher risk of osteoporosis.
- Eating something toxic may cause the gut to produce more serotonin, which speeds up the transit time and expels the irritant through diarrhea.
- Serotonin helps form blood clots. These platelets are released when there’s a wound.
- The hormone impacts the levels of happiness and anxiety in the brain.
- Bowel function. Most of the serotonin in the body is in the gastrointestinal tract, where it regulates bowel movements and functions.
Health Benefits of Serotonin
Here are some of the most astounding health benefits of serotonin:
- Treats anxiety. The brain’s neurons are the only source of serotonin. They are essential for maintaining levels of sleep, anxiety, appetite, energy, libido and mood.
- Mood Booster. Because serotonin helps us get proper sleep, it is a natural mood booster and helps our bodies maintain a lot of essential functions.
- Treats headaches. Serotonin helps give instant relief from continuous headaches, and can also help treat migraines.
- Treats insomnia. Having less serotonin in the body may cause various sleeping disorders in patients. During the day, you may experience chronic fatigue and at night, you might experience insomnia and uncontrollable thoughts.
- Aids in relaxation. Since it is the ‘Feel Good’ hormone, serotonin makes you feel more relaxed. A deficiency in this particular hormone may promote feelings of illness, tiredness, sluggishness and fatigue.
- Skin benefits. Because serotonin may act as an antidepressant, it can even help give your skin a more natural glow.
- Brain maturation. The most significant function of serotonin is the development of the brain. Having too little serotonin in the body may lead to Down’s syndrome or autism.
- Good for the heart. Serotonin is essential in reducing heart conditions. This is one of the hormone’s best health benefits.
There is no denying it. Serotonin really is a wonder hormone!