What are the health benefits of serotonin?

Lynne Kenney
Serotonin can be considered a “happy” hormone, as it greatly influences an overall sense of well-being. It also helps to regulate moods, temper anxiety, and relieve depression. It is also credited with being a natural sleep aid. It even plays an important role in regulating such things as aggression, appetite, and sexuality. It also helps with regulating body temperature and metabolism.

Gary Wenk

If you are asking whether there are any health benefits from consuming serotonin, the answer is simple: No.  Your stomach is likely to destroy it or your intestines will simply attempt to metabolize it as food.  If you've ever eaten a raw banana you have experienced another consequence of consuming serotonin, diarhea. Most of the serotonin neurons in the body actual live in the intestines; raw bananas will activate these neurons an induce dramatic bowel movements.  Platelets in the blood also contain a major percentage of the body's serotonin.  If you induced your platelets to release lots of serotonin your small blood vessels would dilate and you might bruise more easily.  When you're stung by a bee, they inject you with their venom and some serotonin in order to increase your blood flow to their venom. This is partly why your skin swells when you're bitten.  Thus, overall, no health benefits at all from consuming serotonin. 

Having healthy levels of serotonin could make you less likely to lash out under stress. In a study, when researchers temporarily lowered serotonin levels in healthy volunteers, the volunteers were more likely to get disgruntled about a partner's unfair play during a game.

How can you get more even-keel serotonin in you? One option may be to eat tryptophan-containing foods like chicken, chocolate, dairy, tuna, eggs and nuts. Your body needs tryptophan to produce serotonin.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.