Most people have heard of serotonin, particularly when it comes to treating depression and anxiety, but few understand what this amazing chemical does. Serotonin is essential to keeping the human body running smoothly and impacts everything from basic bowl functions to higher brain processing. More surprisingly, the essential ingredient your body uses to create serotonin is as accessible as a turkey dinner. Understanding serotonin and its role in the body is key to understanding how your brain and nervous system works.
Serotonin is a natural neurotransmitter, a chemical that helps relay signals from one area of the nervous system to another. However, there is some debate about its full function. Some researchers consider it a hormone instead. Regardless of how it is classified, researchers agree the body creates serotonin when it processes tryptophan, the foundation of many proteins. When tryptophan reacts with tryptophan hydroxylase in the body, it creates 5-hydroxytryptamine, the scientific name for serotonin.
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