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Can Low Serotonin Cause Depression and Brain Fog?

brain fog

Most cells in the brain (there are over 40 million) are either directly or indirectly affected by serotonin levels. It is the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating a wide variety of brain functions and having adequate serotonin levels is crucial for preventing many behavioral issues from occurring. 

Brain fog in particular is a cognitive change that can be caused by depression. If you are already taking medication for depression it may not address your brain fog and for some people, it can actually aggravate it. 

When you have brain fog it becomes difficult to:

  • process information

  • recall words

  • prioritize tasks

  • maintain focus

  • make a quick decision

  • learn new skills. 

The fact is, low serotonin levels can certainly cause depression and brain fog. Depression is a precursor to brain fog, and it is one of several resulting issues for those struggling with low serotonin levels. 

In fact, brain fog is one of the most common symptoms our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Dave Scheiderer, treats patients daily.

What Are Other Signs of Serotonin Deficiency?

In addition to the brain, our muscles, parts of our cardiovascular and endocrine systems are also impacted by serotonin levels. Because of this widespread influence, low serotonin levels are often attributed to anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, obesity, and fibromyalgia

Some other symptoms include:

  • Irritable bowel
  • PMS/ Hormone dysfunction
  • Eating disorders
  • Obsessions and Compulsions
  • Muscle pain

Those who have successfully increased their serotonin levels have seen improvements with eating disorders, chronic pain, migraines, and alcohol abuse, as well as a significant decrease in depression. The latter is commonly reported to give way to a more positive outlook on life in general.

How Do I Know if I Have Low Serotonin Levels?

Testing for a neurotransmitter deficiency, such as serotonin, is helpful in determining appropriate treatment. Certain tests can determine if you have normal levels of the precursors and co-factor vitamins and minerals needed for the brain to produce serotonin. Additionally, hormones such as Adrenal, Thyroid, and Estrogen levels can affect serotonin levels and may explain why some women have premenstrual and menopausal mood problems. 

Can I Increase Serotonin Levels Naturally?

Natural brain supplements are often the most effective means of increasing serotonin levels in the brain. Easily one of the more affordable solutions to depression and the resulting brain fog caused by low serotonin levels is a 5-hydroxy tryptophan (5-HTP) supplement. Tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin production and a shortage of tryptophan is believed to be a major culprit leading to depression and brain fog.

5-HTP is a safe dietary supplement that introduces higher levels of tryptophan into the bloodstream, which then enter the central nervous system and facilitate the needed synthesis of serotonin and new brain cell production begins to rise.

Serotonin cannot be obtained directly through food. It must be manufactured by the body using tryptophan. Even though some common foods contain tryptophan, there are many other amino acids in these foods that compete with the tryptophan to gain access to the brain. This results in limited absorption of tryptophan and therefore a limited rise in serotonin levels. We recommend incorporating Omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, fish oils, and flaxseed oils into your diet because it assists the nerve pulse transmission of essential neurotransmitters like serotonin.

These natural remedies for depression and brain fog can be a safer, more affordable alternative to prescription medication. 

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Meet Dr. Dave

Dr. David Scheiderer MD, MBA, DFAPA, is the Chief Medical Officer and Director of Education for Integrative Psychiatry, Inc. 

An accomplished clinician, educator, and lecturer, Dr. Dave has established himself as a key opinion leader in the fields of both mainstream psychiatry and functional medicine. Dissatisfied with the patient outcomes using only conventional treatments, he began treating his patients by addressing biological imbalances with lifestyle improvements, nutrition and nutraceuticals to get better outcomes. His integrative approach provided much improved results. Dr. Dave is passionate about helping the community he serves by personalizing treatments and educating the public about mental health and healthy aging. He has formulated several of our supplements and sat on the advisory board for many others, ensuring the products we carry are based on science and experience and have the best efficacy rates and highest ingredient quality available.

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