Low serotonin: symptoms and natural treatment

Having low serotonin can cause important changes in a person’s mental health, leading to the appearance of anxiety, depression, sleeping problems, apathy, lack of energy, among many other symptoms. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that has very important functions in the body, such as regulating mood, appetite, the sleep cycle, sexual desire, the digestion process, etc., and when its blood levels decrease it can can cause the suffering of different physical and emotional disorders. In this Psychology-Online article, we are going to show what are the symptoms of low serotonin and how to increase your levels through a natural treatment effective, taking into account healthy eating and lifestyle habits.

What is serotonin and what is it for?

Serotonin is a chemical substance produced by the human body that works as a neurotransmitter by transmitting signals between nerves. It is produced in the brain and intestines, although it is mostly found (between 80 and 90%) in the gastrointestinal tract. Likewise, it is also found in the central nervous system and in blood platelets. To generate serotonin, the cells that produce it use the enzyme tryptophan hydroxylase. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that the body obtains through food and is essential for the production of serotonin.

Serotonin plays a key role in the central nervous system, overall body function, and the gastrointestinal tract. In addition, it is a neurotransmitter that has a direct and indirect influence on a large part of the brain cells and is involved in many body processes related to its health:

  • Regulates mood: Serotonin sends stimuli to the brain, which are evident in our moods. A low level of serotonin can make us more irascible, irritable, in a bad mood, sad, impulsive, etc.
  • Control appetite: It regulates the function of the intestines and allows you to control your appetite, thus feeling full and stopping eating accordingly.
  • Sexuality and libido: When you have high levels of serotonin, there is a lack of sexual desire, which causes the appearance of other problems in the relationship.
  • Regulates sleep: The production of this substance regulates our ability to fall asleep, making this more or less complicated.
  • Body temperature: It regulates body temperature, allowing the survival of our cells despite internal and external thermal changes.
  • Reduces the level of aggression: In a tense situation, this chemical substance stabilizes our emotional state and allows us to be less aggressive and reduce possible violent behavior.
  • Coagulation: When we suffer an injury, platelets release serotonin and the formation of blood clots becomes possible to begin healing.

What causes a lack of serotonin in the brain

Low serotonin levels can be caused by factors such as:

Inadequate nutrition

A diet rich in sugars and processed flours causes an increase in the production of anaerobic bacteria, which end up causing an alteration in the intestinal bacterial flora. This impairs the proper digestion of digested food and produces constipation and poor absorption of tryptophan, which is key in the synthesis of serotonin. In this way, serotonin is prevented from reaching the nervous system correctly.


Another possible cause of low serotonin is stress. When a person is nervous, very anxious or distressed, a sensation occurs in their body. increased cortisol. This hormone causes a decrease in brain chemistry in general and serotonin is one of the first substances affected, since in the event of an excess of cortisol, it decreases considerably.

Low serotonin: symptoms

As we have already seen, this neurotransmitter is involved in many different processes in the body, so when a serotonin deficiency occurs, the symptoms that can manifest are very varied. Below we list the low serotonin symptoms more frequent:

  • Sudden changes in mood: more irritable attitude, bad mood, negative thoughts, angry or crying outbursts, more aggressiveness, anger and susceptibility.
  • Anxiety. Low serotonin has been associated with generalized anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and panic disorder.
  • Fatigue, lethargy, apathy and lack of energy: little desire to do anything, not wanting to interact with others, feeling very sad, very insecure and with low self-esteem, fear, shyness, etc. All of this could lead to a situation of depression.
  • Great unstoppable desire to eat sweet and carbohydrate foods.
  • Weight gain.
  • Bad digestion. It has been noted that serotonin also has an important influence on the development of irritable bowel syndrome.
  • High levels of sexual desire and libido.
  • Premature ejaculation.
  • Problems sleeping and falling asleep.
  • Concentration problems.
  • Sudden changes in body temperature.
  • Great sensitivity to sounds.
  • Increased sensitivity to pain.

Furthermore, it is important to note that the low serotonin symptoms They manifest themselves differently in men and women:

  • Men: more likely to develop attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), alcoholism, and other disorders associated with impulse control.
  • Women: more likely to experience anxiety, depression, and mood changes. On the other hand, they are more likely than men to have anxiety about food.

Low serotonin: natural treatment

To increase low serotonin, it is important to follow recommendations such as those detailed in the following lines.

Foods that increase serotonin

To increase serotonin naturally, it is very important to include in your daily diet those foods that are rich in tryptophan, the essential amino acid that is key to the production of serotonin. The foods richest in tryptophan are:

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Blue Fish
  • Watercress
  • Spinach
  • Artichoke
  • arugula
  • Cabbage
  • Pumpkin
  • Asparagus
  • Pineapple
  • Banana
  • Strawberry
  • Avocado
  • Papaya
  • Mango
  • Dairy
  • Soy
  • Peanuts
  • Rye
  • Oatmeal
  • Corn
  • Dark chocolate

Do exercise

Performing physical activity every day, about 45 minutes may be enough, is also a good way to promote the increase of serotonin in the body and reduce symptoms of irritability, bad mood, lack of energy, anxiety, etc. Exercise stimulates the production of serotonin, producing a feeling of well-being and satisfaction, in addition to benefiting the metabolism and the health of the body in general.

Reduce stress

Carrying out relaxation techniques, or practicing disciplines that contribute to physical and mental well-being, is essential to put worries aside, free yourself from negative thoughts and increase serotonin levels.

Other recommendations to treat low serotonin in the blood

  • Sunbathe In a moderate way it also helps to improve the production of serotonin, since sunlight has a very direct relationship with depression and can increase low self-esteem, sadness, bad mood, apathy, etc.
  • To rest well and sleeping enough hours each day is also vital to feeling happier and more energetic.
  • Do those activities that really work for us pleasant and interact with loved ones.
  • Do breathing exercises to promote our relaxation.

This article is merely informative, at Psychology-Online we do not have the power to make a diagnosis or recommend a treatment. We invite you to go to a psychologist to treat your particular case.

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