Serotonin is a powerful neurotransmitter required for the brain and body to feel happy, it is often labelled the ‘happy hormone’. Up to 90% of serotonin is found in the gut. It is no wonder that with the poor habits of the Western diet we see so many stagnate gut conditions such as candida, leaky gut and dysbiosis. With the over-proliferation of negative gut flora, there is a decline in the storage and production of the essential hormone for happiness, Seratonin. The specific functions of the neurotransmitter Seratonin are:
Oestrogen and progesterone receptors are also found in serotonin-producing receptors in the brain. Oestrogen increases the production rate and receptor density of serotonin, as well as that of endorphins and other beneficial neurotransmitters. Declining oestrogen during peri-menopause seems to lead to lower levels of serotonergic activity, which might contribute to the depression and mood changes which are common during this phase.
A very common symptom of menopause is depression, anxiety or nervousness. These symptoms can be a direct link to the decreased production of Seratonin in the brain and gut. Improving gut health has a remarkably positive effect on improving the wellbeing and positive outlook of an individual. The bodies ability to maintain homeostasis of the biochemical receptivity of the brain and its associated hormone production is seen by the long term improvement of the gut and its ability to absorb and utilise the foods we consume.
Hormones are the messengers in the body that travel through the bloodstream to start, stop, speed up or slow down your physical and chemical functions and processes across all body systems.
The ovarian hormones have an effect on many neurotransmitters in the brain and specific interactions between oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone, serotonin and dopamine. By gaining an understanding of these neurotransmitters and the way that they influence our emotional states and physiological health we can better understand our bodies.
The nervous system is highly influenced by these hormones which act on the individuals perceptions, emotions, personality and physical ailments,. The following is a table which outlines the way these hormones affect the nervous system:
- energising and an anti-depressant
- hormone excess – anxiety, agitation, irritability, emotional liability, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive tendencies and phobias
- hormone deficiency – mood swings, memory loss, inability to focus, irritability, fatigue, depression, stress and anxiety
- hormone excess – sedation and depression
- hormone deficiency – mood swings, insomnia and restlessness
- energising and libido enhancing
- hormone excess – aggression, impulsive behaviour and hyper sexual
- hormone deficiency – reduced sexual desire, hot flushes, sweating, lethargy, fatigue and depression
- mood regulation, appetite and sexual urges
- hormone excess – confusion, agitation, restlessness, headaches, rapid heart rate and blood pressure changes
- hormone deficiency – depression, anxiety, impatience, negativity and inability to focus
- feelings of pleasure/ relaxation and mental alertness
- hormone excess – enhanced concentration, mood-boosting, mania, insomnia, anxiety, high energy, high libido and social effects
- hormone deficiency – anxiety, irritability, tension, social withdrawal, fatigue, forgetfulness, low motivation and mood swings