Serotonin definition compiled from different medical sources describes it as ‘ a chemical compound existent in human beings as well as animals that assumes the role of a hormone as well as a neurotransmitter’. It is commonly known to be occurring in the brain; however serotonin has also been detected in the intestinal walls of human beings, as well as in blood platelets or other constricted blood vessels.
Hormones are chemical substances or messengers that are produced in one part of the body and transported to another target organ or tissues, through blood circulation and regulate their functions by modifying their structures or behavior. Serotonin as a hormone is responsible for regulating respiration, cardiovascular functions, muscle movements and controlling blood clots by regulating the activity of blood clot cells known as platelets. It also affects the process of digestion by regulating the passage of food in the intestine.
Serotonin definition also includes its role as a neurotransmitter as benefits to something like cuddling for depression for example. A neurotransmitter is responsible for sending chemical signals from one nerve to other nerves, cells, muscles or organs. In other words, they may be described as the mediators between the brain cells and the human nervous system. Serotonin, as a neurotransmitter is believed to control memory, hunger, varying moods, sleep etc. in human beings.
Effects Of Imbalance In Serotonin Levels
A healthy level of serotonin is essential to the well being of individuals and goes a long way as how to beat depression. Low serotonin levels affect individuals negatively – both physically as well as psychologically. One of the major effects of low serotonin is depression. High serotonin levels in the central nervous system are responsible for insinuating a ‘feel-good’ mood in individuals. Thus, when the level of serotonin falls below the normal amount, feelings of depression, agony, loneliness and apathy creep in.
Another negative impact of diminished levels of serotonin is excessive weight gain. The appetite of human beings is regulated by a hormone called dopamine. Serotonin, as a hormone, controls the release of dopamine and reduces hunger. In the absence of adequate serotonin, the human body is unable to control its hunger, which leads to overeating and eventually weight gain.
Serotonin is also responsible in regulating the secretion of insulin in the human body. Insulin modulates the blood sugar, a lack of which may lead to diabetes. Thus, People suffering from low levels of serotonin face an increased risk of diabetes due to reduced production of insulin in the body.
Low serotonin in the body has also been proved to impair the learning ability of individuals. It is essential to observe that negative reactions caused by low serotonin in the body do not imply that high levels of serotonin is not damaging. High serotonin level manifests itself in the form of excessive sweating, agitation, involuntary muscle movements etc.
Measuring serotonin level in the brain directly has not yet been possible in modern medicine. This is due to the fact that serotonin producing cells in the brain either reabsorb it into the cells or discharge them into the blood circulation where it is disintegrated into different complex compounds. Currently measuring serotonin levels is made possible though blood serum tests that aim to measure the levels of the disintegrated serotonin and deduce the level of serotonin in the blood indirectly. However researchers have been unable to confirm if the levels of serotonin in the blood accurately captures the level existent in the brain.