5

votes

To Serotonin or Not to Serotonin?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 04, 2012 at 10:53 AM

It is popular to see serotonin as a 'happy hormone'. Often enough, when food makes one happy, it is said to raise serotonin. 5-HTP and similar supplements are regularly used to improve mood and sleep.

Ray Peat says the opposite, and I believe the author of Lights Out isn't a big fan of serotonin either.

Autists are known to have elevated levels of serotonin and usually respond well to serotonin antagonists.

What's the take of the paleo community on serotonin? Good or bad?

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on August 04, 2012
at 05:31 PM

So in your eyes serotonin is good and you want more of it?

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on August 04, 2012
at 03:18 PM

+1 for awesome metaphors.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on August 04, 2012
at 12:22 PM

Wow Jamie thanks!

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 04, 2012
at 12:17 PM

So yeah, you can totally downregulate serotonin with whole foods, and that would be anti-depressive, and anti-anxiety. I wouldnt suggest that it could take the place of an actually satifying life circumstance etc, or should be used as a full on therapy, but something like this, seeing as they are subtle and 5ht1a's, could be useful for a general sorta boost like the chinese have used lotus root/seeds, as a subtle medicine and mood boosting food.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 04, 2012
at 12:15 PM

So yeah, you can totally downregulate serotonin with whole foods, and that would be anti-depressive, and anti-anxiety. I wouldnt suggest that it could take the place of an actually satifying life circumstance etc, or be used as a full on therapy, but something like this, seeing as they are subtle and 5ht1a's, could be useful for a general sorta boost...

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 04, 2012
at 12:06 PM

^ couldnt find the study which found that but heres lots of related info: http://www.forevernow.net/iAnswers/rnp/fandc-np7070.html The annona fruit - "Soursop" has some similar chemical compounds, with similar effects: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9401954

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 04, 2012
at 11:53 AM

^ lotus root may well be a 5ht1a agonist, according to one study, and 5-ht1a's downregulate the serotonin system. I sometimes wonder if it isnt just the tai chi that makes the chinese calm :P Its also similar to the water lilly root, biologically, that the hadza eat. And thus a similar root, may have been one of the earliest tubers.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 04, 2012
at 11:51 AM

^ lotus root and seeds may well be a 5ht1a agonist. Its also similar to the water lilly root, biologically, that the hadza eat.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on August 04, 2012
at 11:36 AM

I don't know, we're all trying to alter our biology here I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Everything can have some serious side effects, walking in the street could kill you if you happen to meet a psychopath, it's not gonna prevent me from living though. And this question is all just theory anyways, you could up- or down-regulate serotonin with whole foods.

  • B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

    asked by

    (8938)
  • Views
    2K
  • Last Activity
    1402D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

3 Answers

5
Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 04, 2012
at 11:23 AM

The negative effects of a bad lsd trip is caused by a subreceptor of the serotonin system (its a 5ht2a receptor agonist from memory). A large number of serotonin subtypes are associated with anxiety and other negative emotions. A quick look on wikipedia about these subsystems will quickly dispel any notion that they are all positive uplifting systems.

In fact, the anti-depression/anti-anxiety action of the 5ht1a-receptor is supposed to because of the downregulation of the entire rest of the serotonin system. And thats the receptor that oxytocin influences. Its also how prozac and 5-htp are now theorized to work (constant action at 5ht1a, gradually indirectly lowers the sensitivity of all the rest of the system, hence why it takes so long to work, and people often suicide before it does)

I would guess, having researced it a fair damn bit, that far more negative emotion comes from the serotonin system than positive - largely around negative social and self perceptions. (Hence the old LSD thing)

IMO, emotional wellbeing is more about the serenic receptor (5ht1a), dopamine at selective sites, such as the nucleus accumbens, GABA at selective sites and more generally Brain-derived neurotrophic factor.

All of those things are positively modulated by naturalistic human behaviours - exercise, sunlight, sleep, proper diet, human touch and empathy etc.

Drug or supplementation therapy for these brain regions, in the absence of addressing the actual human needs, is like growing plants underground, and keeping animals in the zoo (Hey zoo neighbours!)

It can work based on approximation, but its never going to be ideal or forfill total needs.

If mental illness, or depression, or anxiety, or stress related illness, (or autoimmune diseases) where merely organic dysfunctions in our body, the third world would have them as much as we do, and our rates would be steady by population rather than all excalating on a hyperbolic curve like our crime and violence rates.

If a supplement or drug could fix all those problems, id would be more impressive than throwing a rock to the moon, and also less logical than drawing a door in a wall and walking through it.

The folk idea that serotonin (only the biggest receptor group in the brain) is something you simply want more of, IMO, is extremely inaccurate.

What you want more of is a happy , human natural, life. The body, in most cases, can take of the rest.

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

(971)

on August 04, 2012
at 03:18 PM

+1 for awesome metaphors.

3
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 04, 2012
at 12:05 PM

Serotonin is a reward neurotransmitter released in response to food and pleasurable, pro-survival activities. Short-circuiting this system by ingestion of serotonin agonists would inevitably alter behaviour just like drugs of addiction will.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on August 04, 2012
at 05:31 PM

So in your eyes serotonin is good and you want more of it?

2
3ab5e1b9eba22a071f653330b7fc9579

on August 04, 2012
at 10:56 AM

My take is to leave it alone. Our brain produces certain amounts of these horomones for a reason, trying to alter biology can have some serious side effects.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 04, 2012
at 12:06 PM

^ couldnt find the study which found that but heres lots of related info: http://www.forevernow.net/iAnswers/rnp/fandc-np7070.html The annona fruit - "Soursop" has some similar chemical compounds, with similar effects: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9401954

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 04, 2012
at 12:17 PM

So yeah, you can totally downregulate serotonin with whole foods, and that would be anti-depressive, and anti-anxiety. I wouldnt suggest that it could take the place of an actually satifying life circumstance etc, or should be used as a full on therapy, but something like this, seeing as they are subtle and 5ht1a's, could be useful for a general sorta boost like the chinese have used lotus root/seeds, as a subtle medicine and mood boosting food.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 04, 2012
at 11:53 AM

^ lotus root may well be a 5ht1a agonist, according to one study, and 5-ht1a's downregulate the serotonin system. I sometimes wonder if it isnt just the tai chi that makes the chinese calm :P Its also similar to the water lilly root, biologically, that the hadza eat. And thus a similar root, may have been one of the earliest tubers.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 04, 2012
at 12:15 PM

So yeah, you can totally downregulate serotonin with whole foods, and that would be anti-depressive, and anti-anxiety. I wouldnt suggest that it could take the place of an actually satifying life circumstance etc, or be used as a full on therapy, but something like this, seeing as they are subtle and 5ht1a's, could be useful for a general sorta boost...

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on August 04, 2012
at 11:36 AM

I don't know, we're all trying to alter our biology here I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Everything can have some serious side effects, walking in the street could kill you if you happen to meet a psychopath, it's not gonna prevent me from living though. And this question is all just theory anyways, you could up- or down-regulate serotonin with whole foods.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 04, 2012
at 11:51 AM

^ lotus root and seeds may well be a 5ht1a agonist. Its also similar to the water lilly root, biologically, that the hadza eat.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on August 04, 2012
at 12:22 PM

Wow Jamie thanks!

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!