Serotonin is an monoamine neurotransmitter, a substance whose main role is to transmit information (electric impulses) from one nerve cell to another.
Serotonin is involved in controlling things like: mental and emotional processes, intestinal movements, cognitive functions, thermoregulation, regulation of blood pressure, breathing, the act of vomiting, pain perception, hormonal functions, muscle contractions, appetite and the sleep cycles. There are also other functions and processes on which serotonin could have an impact (like changing the density of bones), but these assumptions are still under research.
90% of the amount of serotonin available in the human body is located in the gut (gastrointestinal tract), and the rest of 10% is divided between the brain and blood platelets.
Low or high levels of serotonin can lead to various conditions, like: depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, Binge eating, chronic pain disorders, Epilepsy, headaches, Myoclonus, Schizophrenia, suicidal thoughts and behavior, serotonin syndrome and various forms of addiction.
Serotonin levels within the body can be raised through the ingestion of fruits, vegetables or herbs that have in their chemical structure concentrations of this neurotransmitter. Be advised that the serotonin acquired through a diet will not influence the levels of serotonin in the brain.
Low levels can also be raised through physical exercises, exposure to sunlight, massages, different types of drugs (antidepressants, psychedelic drugs and so on) and supplements.
Other abbreviations and names: 5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT, the happy hormone, the calming chemical
Molecular formula: C10H12N2O
Molecular weight: 176.21508 g/mol
It was discovered in 1935 by the Italian Vittorio Erspamer