The human brain is so complex, there are thousand chemical substances interacting inside of it. One of them is serotonin, a substance that behaves as a hormone in the blood and as a neurotransmitter in the brain, which is in charge of various bodily functions.
Our conduct has a biological basis that influences us decisively. These are some of the main effects serotonin has on our body and mind:
Among its multiple functions, serotonin balances people’s emotional states when they face tension as it inhibits aggressiveness and violent behaviour. So, impulsive and violent people tend to have lower levels of serotonin acting on key points of the brain than those who are more peaceful.
Serotonin can be found in large quantities over many parts of the body and, therefore, a general imbalance in the production of this substance may have radical effects on the way we feel and behave. Specifically, serotonin has been related to depression as people with this disorder tend to have low levels of serotonin in the blood. This explains why serotonin is considered the hormone of happiness, a sedative and antidepressant, in direct relationship with mood.
The larger concentrations of serotonin in our body are found in the gastrointestinal tract and it’s in charge of regulating digestion. It also regulates and balances our appetite, through the sensation of satiety. Levels too high of serotonin can cause diarrhoea while its deficit can cause constipation.
Serotonin also regulates the thermal levels in our body. This is a very delicate balance as a change of a few degrees in body temperature may imply the massive death of cell tissue. Neurons are particularly sensitive in this regard.
There is also a correlation between the levels in serotonin and sexual libido. High levels are associated with a lack of sexual desire, while low levels would promote conducts aimed at the fulfilment of this need. Serotonin also has an effect on the human capacity to fall in love and love another person.
Finally, serotonin regulates the sleeping cycle. During the day, the levels of serotonin go up and down describing curves that register the circadian rhythm, which is the one our body follows to know when it has to sleep and when no to. Serotonin levels go up to their maximum during the day, while they go down to their minimum during deep sleep. In this way, the production of serotonin influences us regulating our capacity to sleep.
Serotonin, also known as 5-HT, is directly related to the way our human body works and the ways in which we perceive and experience reality.