Do you know where your happiness comes from? We do…
Serotonin is our ‘happy brain chemical’. It helps to control our appetite, behaviour, and moods, sleep patterns, regulation of pain, and even memory recall.
I always like to explain to my patients, that serotonin is like an extension of nutrients; it’s made from tryptophan (an amino acid) from the protein we eat, and with the addition of vitamin B1, B3 and B6, iron, magnesium, zinc, and folate, we can convert this amino acid into 5-Hydroxytryptamine (aka Serotnin).
Think of serotonin as a cake you’re trying to make, if we don’t have enough ingredients (the nutrients listed above), then we obviously aren’t going to make a nice serotonin cake. On the other hand, because Serotonin is made in the gut (aka our “oven”), if our oven isn’t up to scratch, then we don’t expect to make a nice happy serotonin cake do we?
We need to ensure that our diet provides the right nutrients for this to occur, as well as create the right environment for the biochemical pathways to occur.
For example, if we’re too stressed, this causes a rise in cortisol (our stress hormone), this cortisol completely shunts serotonin production, and pushes it down a completely different pathway called the Kynurenine pathway; the by-products of which are vitamin B3 and quinolinic acid (which causes oxidative stress, anxiety, has neurotoxic effects and causes inflammation). Furthermore, because the majority of Serotonin is made in the enterochromaffin cells within our small intestine, if we have leaky gut, bacterial imbalances, parasites, yeast overgrowth and inflammation of our gut lining, there’s no way that our gut (oven) is going to be able to effectively make the Serotonin.
I see a lot of clients with a history of depression, anxiety, stress, mood fluctuations in PMS and menopause, as well as parasites, dysbiosis and leaky gut – all of which can be alleviated with herbal and nutritional medicine. It really is amazing what you can do if you know the exact biochemical pathways, and how each herb or nutrient can effect what’s going on in the body on a pathophysiological level; because it allows us to pin point where we need to go with treatment.
I do microbiome mapping with the majority of these clients, which allows us to test things such as leaky gut, inflammation and bacterial imbalances; as well as doing regular stress support to ensure we’re doing everything we possibly can to create the perfect environment for Serotonin to be made.
Yours in Happy GUT,
Image via @yourtea
Meet Erin, who’s words you just devoured;
Having a passion for food, cooking and the healing power of Mother Nature; I treat holistically, by assessing every body system, as well as diet and lifestyle to get to the root of dis-ease, enabling me to treat the cause rather than the symptoms.
I am registered with the Australian Natural Therapies Association (ANTA) and Yoga Alliance.