So you probably already know what amino acids are. They make up proteins. And when proteins are broken down they produce amino acids. The common idea people have about amino acids is that there are 20 basic amino acids. Those are the amino acids that many people know. But do you know what these 20 are? Is serotonin an amino acid? Well, people often mistake serotonin to be an amino acid. And that’s because of some reasons. Well, serotonin is not an amino acid but is a product of amino acids. Does that sound a bit confusing? Well, we’ll explain a bit further as we go on.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter. Well, it’s possible that you may not be familiar with neurotransmitters. So let’s explain a bit. Neurotransmitters are known to be chemical messengers in the body. This means that they are used by the nervous system in the body to send messages. The messages are sent either between neurons or from neurons to muscles. And neurotransmitters can either be excitatory or inhibitory. Serotonin is excitatory. We’ll be taking a look at what serotonin is all about. So make sure you keep reading to find out more about serotonin.
What is Serotonin?
Serotonin is a chemical messenger that’s produced in the body. And its function is to send signals to nerve cells. It is mostly found in the digestive system. But it can also be found in places like the central nervous system and also blood platelets.
This neurotransmitter is formed from an amino acid known as tryptophan. This amino acid is essential. So it must be gotten from certain foods. A deficiency in this amino acid would lead to lower levels of serotonin. And when this happens it leads to anxiety, depression, and also mood disorders.
Serotonin affects different parts of the body. It helps control emotions and also motor skills. This is also known to be the natural mood stabilizer in the body. It helps out with digesting, eating, and even sleeping.
Some supplements can help increase the amount of serotonin being produced. And they do this by increasing the tryptophan in the body. well, supplements are great but foods are better. That’s why we’ll be taking a look at foods that can help increase the production of serotonin later on.
Functions of Serotonin
- Mood: This neurotransmitter is released in the brain and is known to have effects on mood. That’s why it helps deal with anxiety and depression. Low levels of this neurotransmitter are the cause of certain conditions like depression.
- Bowel movements: It’s known to be found mostly in the stomach and the intestines. And its function there is to help control bowel movements as well as the function.
- Blood clotting: Platelets in the blood help release serotonin. And the purpose of this is to help heal wounds. Serotonin is known to help small arteries narrow. And this is effective for blood clotting.
- Sleep: Serotonin is effective for stimulating certain parts of the brain that helps control your sleep-wake cycle. So whether you’re sleeping or awake depends on the area of the brain that’s stimulated. As well as the
- serotonin receptor that’s used.
- Bone health: It also has a role to play in the health of your bones. When serotonin is too much in the bones it leads to osteoporosis. This is a condition wherein the bones become weaker.
- Sexual function: Having low levels of serotonin in the body has been linked to an increased libido. And high levels of serotonin have also been linked to decreased libido.
Foods that Increase Serotonin Level
These are some of the foods that can help increase the level of serotonin in the body.
- Eggs: Eggs have always been known to be a great source of proteins. And they help boost the plasma levels of tryptophan. Make sure that you eat the yolk when eating the egg. They are very rich in tryptophan and other nutrients. Such as biotin, choline, tyrosine, and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Cheese: Right here is another amazing source of the amino acid tryptophan. You can combine your cheese with eggs and milk. And these are also good sources of tryptophan. So in just one meal, you would be able to get enough tryptophan needed.
- Tofu: Many soy products are good sources of tryptophan. Tofu happens to be one of the best you can opt for. It is a great choice for vegetarians. Some tofu is rich in calcium, which makes it a great option if you’re opting for a boost in calcium in the body.
- Salmon: Salmon happens to be one of the best fish that you can opt for. It’s quite rich in protein and also rich in tryptophan. You can use salmon in different recipes. Which makes it a lot easier to opt for. Also, it has some other amazing benefits. One of them is that it helps lower your blood cholesterol level. At the same time, it’s a good source of omega-3 fatty acids which are anti-inflammatory. So salmon is a total package.
- Turkey: Among other poultry animals, turkey seems to be the most stuffed with tryptophan. So if you need a good poultry animal that can help boost serotonin level turkey is the way to go.
- Nuts and seeds: These are great sources of tryptophan. Nuts and seeds are also known to have certain health benefits. They help reduce the risk of cancer and also the risk of having certain respiratory problems. They are also rich in vitamins and antioxidants. You can eat them raw or roast them. Whichever way you choose you can be sure you would be able to get the nutrients that you need.
As you have seen, serotonin has effects on different parts of the body. So it’s quite important in the body. It’s important for regulating so many things in the body. And too high or too low levels can lead to imbalances in the body. So you must be careful when it comes to taking supplements that help boost serotonin levels in the body. Well, with that being said we hope you now have an answer to your question, is serotonin an amino acid?