Serotonin Myth –“In the 1990s, no academic could sell a message about lowered serotonin. There was no correlation between serotonin reuptake inhibiting potency and antidepressant efficacy. No one knew if SSRIs raised or lowered serotonin levels; they still don’t know. There was no evidence that treatment corrected anything.“ David Healy Professor of Psychiatry
For decades now, there has been a story pushed about serotonin, and how having more makes you happy. Meanwhile, myths aside, rising serotonin has repeatedly been demonstrated to be involved in the biological processes which promote stress, shock and the onset of disease.
A well functioning metabolism goes hand in hand with good digestive function. It so follows, that anything interfering with thyroid energy metabolism, also has a tendency to interfere with digestion, and this can then encourage the growth and spread of bacteria, as well as inhibit intestinal barrier performance. Serotonin, the vast majority of which is produced in the intestines, is one such thing.
An increase in bacterial issues generally means greater exposure to bacterial toxins, including endotoxin (LPS). Endotoxin (like serotonin) also impedes energy system function, allowing for greater amounts of endotoxin and other toxins, to pass into the main system, promoting the further release of serotonin.
When stress is high and blood sugar is lacking, fat is released out of storage as an alternate fuel source. Rising circulation of serotonin is one of the factors which (by promoting stress and metabolic suppression), leads to more of the stored polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) entering the blood stream as free fatty acids, as well as being something which promotes their breakdown. The breakdown products of the PUFAs are considered to be a major influence on the development of chronic inflammatory issues. Endotoxin also itself causes inflammation.
Good liver function is central to proper metabolic performance. Rising circulation of endotoxin and serotonin, play a big part in stressing and overloading the liver, eventually preventing the liver from properly carrying out detoxification functions, and this is an important reason behind the development of what is commonly referred to as ‘estrogen dominance.’
Estrogen has a basic physiological role, but another popular myth is that increasing estrogen levels is a good thing. Excess estrogen leads to more serotonin secretion, and this then creates greater interference with thyroid and energy system function, promoting stress and stimulating the release of PUFAs into circulation. Estrogen itself promotes stress and metabolic damage. An increase in serotonin, followed by rising estrogen, can be the beginning of a vicious circle of stress hormone secretion and systemic inflammation, eventually leading to degenerative disease.
One thing that is not just a myth, is that suppressed thyroid energy system performance, is a big part of what is behind impaired liver function and elevated levels of fat (in particular PUFAs) in the blood, often followed by the onset of chronic low level inflammation, estrogen excess, rising levels of cortisol, adrenaline and other biochemical substances of stress (including serotonin).
All of the above, can be said to result from rising metabolic stress and dysfunction, and has been shown to be central to the development of numerous kinds of degenerative disease states, including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, a variety of brain disorders, including mood dysregulation issues.
Also contrary to popular mythology, the substances of stress nitric oxide and lactate, which rise systemically under high serotonin conditions of inflammation and energy system interference, promote further metabolic suppression, inflammation and disease. It is not by coincidence, that they too (especially when chronically high), do not make you happy.
Rather than being something which it is a good idea to strive for (whether by pharmaceutical, dietary or other means), high serotonin, at least according to a large amount of biological evidence, is better understood as a barrier to metabolic improvement and healing, and as a result, the popular serotonin myth is a major source of confusion and unnecessary suffering.
A big problem with foods, supplements, and medications, being sold and promoted because they lead to an increase in serotonin, is that they can in fact do, exactly what they are intended to do. Increase serotonin.
In upside down world, many of the things that are really bad for you when in excess, like bacteria, serotonin, estrogen, lactic acid and nitric oxide, are not surprisingly advertised as being things that you need more of to be happy and healthy. Makes you wonder why people continue to be fooled into believing the other big myth, that sugar is bad.
Fruit sugar or sucrose, in combination with sufficient amounts of easily digestible protein, vitamins and minerals, from milk, cheese and gelatinous meat, is one example of what can be an effective approach to lowering serotonin, promoting thyroid energy metabolism, and protecting against all of the stressful and inflammatory factors mentioned above.
If you like what I have to say, and you want more information (including lots of studies), showing ways that serotonin and other stressful substances, promote stress, inflammation and disease, please check out some of my other articles, including ‘Sorry! We Meant To Say Lower Serotonin.’ And please share this and sign the email list up top.
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