There’s a lot of reasons to focus on fitness, one of those is to help your body function at its peak performance, which includes biochemical actions. Serotonin one of the products created. It’s a neurotransmitter, which means relays messages between neurons and are part of the central nervous system, influencing the nervous system and brain cells both directly and indirectly. The only way for the brain to get it and have proper serotonin levels in the brain is for the brain to produce it, since it can’t cross the blood-brain barrier and has to be produced in the brain.
By sending messages, serotonin affects a number of processes.
You might think that most of the serotonin is found in the brain, but that’s not true. It’s found in the gastrointestinal tract where it helps regulate the functioning of the bowels. It also plays an important role in controlling your appetite when you eat. Serotonin also affects the formation of blood clots by narrowing blood vessels and slowing the flow of blood from the wound. Serotonin stimulates nausea areas in the brain and increases the amount of time toxic or irritating food takes to get through your system. It also plays a big role in your mood. It affects your happiness and anxiety, based on the amount you have or don’t have.
Serotonin deficiencies produce symptoms, one of which is depression.
While there’s no clearly defined cause for depression, scientists link it to an imbalance of neurotransmitters—hormones. Low levels of serotonin, for example are linked to depression. Some of the signs of potentially low serotonin levels include mild depression and poor memory. In more severe cases, it can include cravings for starches or sweets, problems sleeping, anxiety, aggression and low self-esteem.
You’ll get more than a runners high from working out.
When you get that great mood altering feeling from working out, it often comes from endorphins, another neurotransmitter. However, exercise also encourages the body to produce other neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin. They also play a role in your overall mood. It takes a program of regular exercise to boost the serotonin levels in the brain and improve your mood.
- Serotonin is produced in both the intestines and the brain. Regular exercise increases the levels of serotonin in the brain.
- Regular exercise helps balance hormone levels by burning off stress hormones, such as cortisol or adrenaline. Those hormones are key to the fight-or-flight and unless burnt off through exercise affect your mood negatively and often by inducing depression.
- Serotonin also affects your sleep. It improves your sleep cycle. That improvement can also positively benefit your mood.
- Eating a healthy diet with the amino acid tryptophan, such as dark green leafy vegetables, chicken, eggs, cheese and beans, also helps the body produce serotonin. A healthy diet provides all the raw materials to keep the body functioning at its best.