Symptoms of High Serotonin
The following are symptoms of elevated serotonin in the brain:
Loss of motivation
Nasal stuffiness or congestion
Allergic-type symptoms and allergies
Cold or flu-like symptoms
Acne and other skin disorders
Insomnia and other sleep problems
Impaired intellectual functioning
Difficulty concentrating and learning
Poor memory; amnesia
Difficulty making decisions and acting on them
Difficulty making plans and implementing them
Muddled thinking; brain fog
Lack of desire or interest
Emotional flatness or dullness
Hearing loss or noises in the ears
Altered sense of smell; strange smell in nose
The depression associated with high serotonin is of a different variety from the classical depression, which is most familiar. The typical symptoms of anxiety, low mood, pessimism, sadness, emotional instability, etc. are missing. For that reason it often overlooked, and nothing is done about it.
High serotonin lowers acetylcholine, norepinephrine, and dopamine in the brain and prevents the release of those neurotransmitters. Because of this, too much serotonin relative to the other brain chemicals results in a type of depression, albeit a different kind. Serotonin is a natural tranquilizer and pain reliever. It has a relaxing, calming, anti-anxiety effect in the brain. However, too much serotonin causes excessive nervous system inhibition (depression) with the above symptoms.
In addition, high serotonin is associated with age-related decline of health and increased susceptibility to disease, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer, because of a decrease of growth hormone (and other hormones), which depend on norepinephrine and dopamine in the hypothalamus of the brain for normal pituitary function: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2686323/
Once recognized, a high serotonin condition can be alleviated by stopping the use of a medication, a supplement, or food that increases serotonin in the brain. It may take awhile, but serotonin should gradually return to more normal levels. There are, however, instances when the amounts of serotonin in certain parts of the brain may remain elevated, and this can create long-term problems. In general, whenever norepinephrine and dopamine are depleted (I.e., as occurs with continual use of stimulants) the potential for serotonin to become too high increases.
Supplements that increase serotonin: tryptophan, 5-HTP, SAMe, St. John’s Wort, Gingko biloba, B-complex vitamins (esp. megadoses), theanine, vitamin D, zinc, magnesium
Foods that increase serotonin: protein, turkey, sugar and other carbohydrates, eggs, bananas, sunflower seeds, yogurt, chocolate, vitamin-fortified cereals (and other products), onions, garlic, flaxseed, yeast, coffee, green tea, white tea, alcohol (initially; decrease with long-term use)
Other things that increase serotonin: sunlight exposure, sleep deprivation, medications.
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