What is serotonin
Serotonin is a hormone that acts as a neurotransmitter on the central nervous system, or as a "messenger" of subjective sensations that travel from one nerve cell to another to make the body take information and react accordingly. More precisely, serotonin sends messages about appetite, thirst, sexual desire and fatigue to the brain, that is to say a whole series of perceptions that condition the general mood, triggering precise emotional states in the person. But his work also embraces the regulation of the sleep-wake cycle, intervenes in the regulation of intestinal peristalsis, together with thrombin in the aggregation of platelets for the regulation of coagulation, promotes the release of lactation hormones, prolactin and oxytocin and in perception of pain. Moreover, thanks to a study carried out on male laboratory mice, it seems that serotonin also affects heterosexual sexual preferences. It is synthesized starting from an essential amino acid, tryptophan, which the human body does not spontaneously produce and for this it must forfeit from the outside with food.
When the natural serotonin is lowered
In order to maintain a state of well-being, serotonin levels should be maintained in a range between 101 and 283 ng / ml. They are measured by taking venous blood, but specific tests are rarely required for a suspected lowering; more frequently they are instead required to measure any peaks, of which some particular tumor forms may be responsible. It is fundamental that the basal levels of serotonin remain in the reference range, since its lowering involves considerable and numerous disturbances; it can, for example, increase worry, anxiety and irritability, which taken to the extreme, can lead to panic attacks with an attitude of isolation and later depression. It is not uncommon, in fact, to find low levels of this neurotransmitter in clinically depressed subjects. A low rate of serotonin also affects sleep, resulting in disorders related to the sleep-wake cycle, the appetite, which appears dysfunctional and triggers the so-called "nervous hunger"; it also causes premature ejaculation, memory and personality disorders, migraine, hypertension, and in severe cases, fibromyalgia.