What do an all-round wonderful holiday, delicious chocolate and sport have in common? It's clear: everything makes us happy in the first place, gives us new energy and we feel really good afterwards. This feeling of happiness is no coincidence: the happiness hormone serotonin is the decisive factor.
What is serotonin and how is it produced?
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter. These are messengers that pass on information or stimuli from one nerve cell to another and activate the muscles, among other things. Another name for the happiness hormone is 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) or enteramine. It is found in the central nervous system, gastrointestinal tract, blood and cardiovascular system. Serotonin is therefore present in many parts of the body and therefore has an important function.
This is how it is produced: The body can produce the happiness hormone all by itself. The production, a two-step reaction through hydroxylation and subsequent decarboxylation, takes place mainly in certain cells of the intestine and in the nerve cells of the brain. The amino acid L-tryptophane becomes serotonin. Enzymes first convert the amino acid into 5-hydroxytryptophane, or 5-HTP (intermediate product). The body then stores the finished serotonin so that it can be released when needed.
This is what the happiness hormone does in the body
Serotonin acts differently depending on the receptor to which it docks in the body. This means that the happiness hormone controls different processes: This is why it is also called a messenger substance.
Here are a few examples of what the feel-good hormone affects:
Serotonin influences appetite, relaxation and the sleep-wake rhythm. If you feel like eating a fragrant meal and your mouth is already watering, then the happiness hormone might be responsible. This is also the case with the feeling of relaxation and your healthy sleep-wake rhythm. Above all, you owe the feeling of being awake after a good night's sleep to the messenger substance serotonin.
Serotonin regulates body temperature, pain assessment, sex drive and your emotions in the nervous system. Any physical sensation is therefore strongly influenced and regulated by the feel-good hormone.
Serotonin is responsible for your well-being. You should therefore make sure that your serotonin level is always sufficiently high.
Symptoms of serotonin deficiency
A serotonin deficiency can manifest itself in different ways. It can have psychological and physical effects.
Possible consequences can be:
- Mood swings
- Panic Attacks
- HypertensionIrritable Bowel Syndrome
- Cardiovascular disorders
- Concentration disorders
If you think that you are lacking serotonin, you should see your family doctor. A simple urine test is enough to determine the level.
Where does a serotonin deficiency come from?
A deficiency occurs when there are too few vital substances available that are needed to form serotonin. This prevents the respective substances from functioning normally. Causes for a low serotonin level can be of different nature. Firstly, there is stress: Whether at work or at home, stress over a longer period of time reduces your healthy sense of happiness immensely. In addition, lovesickness should not be underestimated. Most people have probably experienced this at some point. Things didn't turn out the way you expected when you were in love, which can be sad and even hurt inside. In such a situation, the serotonin level can drop significantly.
A serotonin deficiency also manifests itself physically. It can then cause an imbalance in your intestinal flora, which consequently affects your mental health. Probiotics and prebiotics can bring your bowel balance back into balance.
A hormone imbalance can also be accompanied by a lack of serotonin. This can happen in women, for example in the case of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
As you can see, the causes are many and varied. The most important thing is not to ignore them. Take your wellbeing seriously and do something good for yourself every now and then and talk to your doctor if you are not sure.
How to optimise your serotonin levels
Healthy and untreated foods are primarily suitable for improved serotonin levels. The valuable vitamins and minerals contained in them support your body in the production of serotonin. Balanced and tasty food is therefore good for your stomach and your mood.
Here are 9 happiness makers for you:
- Nuts (cashew nuts, peanuts)
- Beef and veal
- Cheese (Edam, Emmental)
- Wholemeal cereals
- Green beans
What makes these foods so special is their high tryptophan content.
Besides nutritious food, there are also other mood-lifting substances:
This can be a cosy time at home: with friends, partners or all by yourself. Even nice family evenings can lift your spirits. Treat yourself to a great holiday every now and then, whether in the mountains or on the beach, in the countryside or an exciting city trip. Do what you enjoy doing. Being active in sports is also part of it. Exercise in every respect has an effect on your physical and mental well-being. Just be creative and try something new. And above all: Avoid stress as much as possible.
One more little tip:
If you would like to "hold on" to your happiness, try a happiness diary.
It's very simple: write down every day what made you personally happy today and how you felt. One sentence or a sketch is enough. Also write down if you have made others happy. In this way you can always remind yourself of what makes you happy in life and that you also help other people to be happy.
So how does happiness work? Find out for yourself. Take a moment for yourself and write it down. Give yourself a little bit of happiness every day. Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
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Picture: istockphoto.com / Ivanko_Brnjakovic