Serotonin: If you have any of these 10 signs you may have low levels of the happiness hormone

Find out what are the symptoms that could indicate a lack of serotonin, the hormone that regulates our good mood

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Find out what are the symptoms that could indicate a lack of serotonin, the hormone that regulates our good mood

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter involved in numerous functions of our body, starting with the regulation of mood. There serotonin deficiency it can have different causes and cause symptoms of different kinds, from depression to difficulty concentrating, through insomnia and eating disorders.


What is serotonin and what causes its deficiency

Serotonin, or 5-HT, is a neurotransmitter that performs various functions in our body. It is synthesized from an amino acid, the tryptophan, and like all neurotransmitters it is responsible for the transmission of a signal at the neuronal level, which in turn generates a response. (Also Read: 10 Foods That Make You Happy)

In particular, the serotonin involved in the processes of mood regulation and affects learning, memory and circadian rhythms. It is no coincidence that it has been commonly referred to as the hormone of happiness.

Deficiency of serotonin can be caused by genetic factors which regulate the production and metabolism of this neurotransmitter.

Sometimes serotonin levels can also drop due to the lifestyle or a diet low in protein, or by taking some medications for a long time.

Serotonin can also decrease in some moments of life characterized by important ones hormonal changes, such as adolescence, pregnancy or menopause or, again, in particularly stressful times.

Because serotonin is part of a complex system, those with a serotonin deficiency may also be affected by a deficiency of other neurotransmitters.


The most frequent symptoms of serotonin deficiency

Deficiency of serotonin may not give any symptoms or manifest itself in different ways, especially in terms of mood, but not only.

Mood disturbances

Mood tone and serotonin seem to influence each other. Although the link between deficiency of serotonin and depression, it is known that there is a complex relationship between this neurotransmitter and mood.
Many antidepressants are specifically designed to increase serotonin synthesis or to inhibit its reuptake at the presynaptic level. Hypericum, a plant useful in mild depression, also acts on the metabolism of serotonin to improve mood.


Anxiety states occur as an organism's response to stressful moments or periods. Anxiety sufferers generally experience increased heart rate and sweating, accompanied by dry mouth and often gastrointestinal spasms.
Since serotonin is involved in the regulation of humor, in addition to causing depression, its deficiency could also cause states of anxiety, acute or chronic, including obsessive and compulsive forms.


Schizophrenia is a disease that causes unusual behavior, auditory and visual hallucinations, sudden mood or personality changes.
Often people suffering from schizophrenia have low levels of serotonin, so a deficit of this neurotransmitter could be involved in the onset of this pathology.

Alterations of the biological clock

Serotonin helps regulate the circadian rhythms, which represent our biological clock.
As a result, low serotonin levels can cause difficulty getting up in the morning, feeling hungry on a regular basis, and often feeling tired and fatigued throughout the day.

Sleep disorders

As we have seen, serotonin helps regulate biorhythm, therefore, its deficiency can also cause insomnia.
Sleep disorders include difficulty falling asleep and sleeping continuously for an adequate amount of time, waking up repeatedly during the night or too early in the morning.
THEchronic insomnia it can be due to a serotonin deficiency and over time can lead to a decrease in the quality of life.

Food disturbance

Deficiencies in serotonin can also lead to eating disorders: those with low levels of serotonin can eating too much or not eating enough or alternate these two behaviors.

Chronic pain

Serotonin affects the functioning of the muscular system and a deficit of this neurotransmitter can be linked to chronic pain.
It appears that serotonin deficiency is related to Fibromyalgia, a condition that causes widespread pain.

Learning difficulties and poor memory

Serotonin affects memory and learning, therefore, a lack of it can cause difficulties to concentrate, to remember concepts during the study or to forget appointments, commitments or recurrences in daily life.


Low levels of serotonin can cause it attention deficit and hyperactivity. A person with serotonin deficiency, in addition to having difficulty concentrating, may feel constantly agitated, unable to sit still and have the feeling of being perpetually bored.


Serotonin deficiency could represent a alarm signal early for the onset of senile dementia.
As we have seen, serotonin can affect memory, concentration and learning and it is possible that a deficit of serotonin increases the risk of impaired cognitive functions in the long term.

What to do in case of serotonin deficiency

Being able to diagnose a serotonin deficiency based on symptoms alone is particularly difficult.
Manifestations such as insomnia, lowered mood or eating disorders can also appear with adequate levels of serotonin: a wide range of neurotransmitters and numerous other factors can in fact affect the mental and physical health.

If you suffer from one of the symptoms related to serotonin deficiency It is important to consult with your doctor to get an accurate diagnosis and adequate treatment and thus improve your quality of life.

Reference sources: ACS Publication / Johns Hopkins Medicine / JNeurosci / JMS Journal

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