Serotonin(Stn) may Reduce Pain
but there can be Problems

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is found in your brain and in many other areas of your body. It is involved in many different bodily functions.

  

  

Remember: Neurotransmitters are biochemical compounds that are released at the junctions where one nerve connects to the next. They can be excitatory (amplifying the nerve signal) or inhibitory (suppressing the nerve signal).

Stn is an inhibitory neurotransmitter and will reduce your sensation of pain. It is found in many different areas of your body including your spinal cord and brain.

Some medications for treating depression and pain attempt to manipulate your Stn levels but there can be problems when these levels are not well controlled. Serotonin Syndrome is caused by too much Stn

Serotonin is involved in:

•Controlling your temperature

•Helping you learn 

•Regulating your memory

•Balancing your appetite and your sleep 

•Calming your mood and behavior

•Contributing to a sense of well being 

•Managing depression and anxiety 

•Suppressing your perception of pain

•Hormone regulation 

•Muscle contraction and wound healing 



Exercise will release Your Stn

 Image thanks to kuviin via Wikimedia Commons

As you can see Stn is a neurotransmitter that is involved in many different and important functions. Scientists use medication to attempt to influence one function of Stn without influencing other functions.

This is why medications have side effects. You may require increased levels of Stn to control your depression, but the higher levels may cause problems with your memory, your sleep, or any of the other areas that Stn influences.

How Much is Too Much?

•A correct or good level of Stn has never been determined because there is a tremendous variability between people. What is not enough for one person may be too much for a different person.

•Stn is very difficult to measure in living subjects because after being released by one nerve and picked up by the next nerve it is quickly broken down and reabsorbed.

•Serotonin Syndrome is a life threatening condition that can develop when your serotonin levels are too high. There is no lab test to diagnose Stn Syndrome.

Controlling Your Stn Levels is not an Exact Science

Many different things may affect your Stn levels.

It is widely accepted that many different medications, foods, diet supplements, and activities can influence your Stn levels. However because of problems measuring Stn levels accurately, how much affect each of these may have is difficult to define.

Some medications are designed to increase your Stn levels, other medications are considered to increase your Stn levels as a side effect.

The Evidence is not Clear

Still other medications seem to contribute to, or play a part in causing Serotonin Syndrome, but laboratory studies have not been able to demonstrate that they actually increase Stn levels.

Many foods, dietary supplements, and activities are advertised or promoted as increasing your Stn levels. But again, studies have not supported these claims.

An Educated Guess

How much influence any one particular factor has is more of an educated guess than scientific fact. How much Stn it takes to cause Serotonin Syndrome also seems to be very variable from one individual to the next.

Medications that are intended to raise your Stn levels

Selective Stn reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs such as Paxil and Zoloft) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs like Cymbalta and Effexor) have been shown to increase Stn levels. The scientific evidence with other medications is unclear.

Medications that may Increase Your Stn Levels
and Your Risk of Stn Syndrome

Buproprion (Wellbutrin, Zyban), MAOIs (Marplan, Nardil), Migraine treatments(Tegretol, Imitrex), Tricyclic Antidepressants (Amitriptyline, Pamelor), Pain medications (Fentanyl, Demerol), Lithium (Lithobid), Street Drugs (LSD, Ectasy), OTC Cold medicine (Delsym, Mucinex DM), Nausea medicines (Reglan, Zofran), Antibiotics (Linezolid), HIV/AIDS treatments (Ritonavir)

Foods and herbal supplements that may
increase Your Stn levels

Saint john's wort, ginseng, nutmeg, free range turkey, dark chocolate, free range beef, sour cherries, flax seed oil, buckwheat, wild fish and seafood, whey protein, eggs, bananas,

Activities that may increase Your Stn levels

          More time in the sun and exposure to bright light 

This has been used for many years as a treatment for depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder

          Consistent daily aerobic exercise 

Aerobic exercise has been shown to improve your mood in many different studies.

          Changing the way you think with meditation or psychotherapy 

It has been long understood that changing your thoughts can change your brain metabolism.

These changes were shown to occur when mood changes were self induced (you decide to be happy and think positive thoughts) and when they were caused by psychotherapy.

It appears that Stn levels are influenced by your mood and your mood is influenced by your Stn levels.


What You Can Do

Drugs that increase your Stn levels can improve your mood and decrease your pain but there are risks. You can discuss with your doctor, who knows your history and the medications that you are taking, how these risks relate to you. 

Activities such as more time in the sun, regular aerobic exercise, and meditation are considered safe. They have never been implicated in causing Stn Syndrome and they are widely accepted as helping to improve your mood and reduce pain. 


  

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