Serotonin, also known as 5-hydroxytryptamine, is one of the main brain chemicals for regulating mood and temperament in people.

It is found in the brain, intestines and blood platelets, and it is involved in a variety of physiological processes, including mood regulation and appetite control.

In fact, an estimated 90 percent of the human body’s serotonin is produced in the intestine, and only 10 percent by the brain.

Serotonin is produced from tryptophan, which is an essential amino acid used to produce proteins.

It is a neurotransmitter, meaning it is responsible for sending messages between nerve cells in the brain and other areas of the body.

Low levels of serotonin are associated with feelings of depression, mood swings and difficulty sleeping.

What Does Serotonin Do?

It is found primarily in the brain and intestines and is thought to be involved in numerous physiological processes.

Here are a few of the key benefits of serotonin:

Improves mood and reduces depression: It is known to promote feelings of wellbeing and happiness, as well as reducing anxiety, stress and depression.

Regulates appetite: Helps to regulate appetite, thereby greatly reducing nutrient intake.

Enhances memory and learning: Studies have shown that it can improve memory and help with learning tasks.

Promotes healthy sleep: Helps to regulate the body’s sleep cycle, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Improves overall health: Helps to regulate hormones, digestion and immune system functioning, which can have a positive effect on overall health.

Triggers nausea: Triggers nausea and vomiting as a reaction to help your body cope with fever and other medical conditions.

Regulates body temperature and blood clotting: It is also involved in the regulation of metabolism and body temperature, as well as the regulation of blood clotting.

Improves sexual health: It aids in your sexual health along with dopamine, an another neurotransmitter.

Serotonin Deficiency – Symptoms

Serotonin deficiency is a condition in which the body does not produce enough of the neurotransmitter serotonin.

This can lead to a wide range of physical and mental symptoms, such as:

  • Irritability, anxiety and depression
  • Poor concentration and memory
  • Fatigue
  • Appetite changes
  • Cognitive decline and dementia
  • Insomnia and difficulty sleeping
  • Suicidal behaviour
  • Low self-esteem
  • Chronic pain
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Migraines
  • Blood clotting
  • Digestive problems, such as constipation
  • Low libido

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to talk to your doctor about any possible treatments for the deficiency.


Low serotonin levels can result from a variety of causes, including:

Chronic stress: Stress can cause a decrease in its levels due to its negative impact on the body.

Genetics: Some individuals have genetically lower levels of serotonin, making them more susceptible to depression and other mental health issues.

Lack of sunlight: Sunlight is essential for the production of serotonin, and a lack of it may lead to the deficiency.

Hormonal imbalance: Hormonal changes, which can be caused by pregnancy, menopause or birth control, are known to affect the levels of neurotransmitters in our brains. This can lead to a decrease in serotonin levels, which may produce symptoms such as feelings of depression, anxiousness and being easily annoyed.

Diet: Eating a diet low in omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins and tryptophan can lead to lower levels.

Medication: Certain types of medication, such as antibiotics, may reduce serotonin levels in some individual, but it may not be the case for everybody.

How to Increase Your Serotonin Levels

For the start, there are certain supplements that can help improve your serotonin levels, such as:

  • 5-HTP
  • St. John’s Wort
  • SAM-e (avoid taking it with antidepressants)
  • Tryptophan

And, there are other natural ways to increase the levels.

Try to get more exposure to sunlight. Sunlight helps your body produce serotonin naturally, so try to spend as much time outside as possible.

Exercise is one of the best ways to boost your serotonin levels. Regular physical activity not only releases your serotonin but also increases the number of serotonin-receptors in your brain.

Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables and healthy fats can also help boost your levels.

Also try to find time to relax and unwind, as stress can have a negative impact on your serotonin levels.

These simple tips can help keep your serotonin levels balanced, and may even ensure that you’re feeling your best.


1. What is Serotonin Syndrome?

Serotonin syndrome is a potentially dangerous condition caused by elevated levels of serotonin in the body. It is usually caused by a combination of drugs, such as antidepressants, painkillers and certain recreational drugs.

Symptoms can include agitation, confusion, rapid heart rate, elevated body temperature, sweating, muscle twitching and tremors. In severe cases, it can lead to seizures and even death.

Treatment typically involves stopping any medications that may be increasing your serotonin levels, as well as supportive care such as IV fluids and medications to reduce symptoms.

2. Can Ashwagandha Increase Serotonin Levels?

Yes, research says it can.

Ashwagandha is a herb that has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries.

Recent research has found that it may be beneficial in reducing stress and anxiety, and studies have also shown that it can increase serotonin levels in the brain.

Specifically, ashwagandha is thought to increase the uptake of serotonin by neurons, thus allowing more serotonin to be available for use in the brain. This can lead to an improved mood and reduced anxiety.

As with any supplement, it is important to speak to your doctor before taking ashwagandha to ensure that it is safe for you. And, also to ensure that it won’t negatively interact with any medications you are taking.


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Sources: NCBI (1, 2, 3), Cleveland Clinic (1, 2), Healthline (1, 2), Medical News Today (1, 2, 3, 4), WebMD, Oxford Academic, PubMed (1, 2, 3), NIH, Cerascreen, Mayo Clinic.