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, I present to you the connection between food and mood – serotonin.

In many species, including us, serotonin is key in the functioning of gut muscles, causing contraction of our intestines.

As it turns out, our digestive system has its own neural network and largely controls itself without any input from our brains whatsoever.

Below is a basic picture of the scene where this exchange occurs: At the same time, as soon as the transmitter is dumped in between the cells, special proteins which are responsible for taking the transmitter back into the neurons start pumping, so the time that the transmitter is in between the cells is short.

As the receptors recognize the neurotransmitter, they send signals inside the second cell which pass the signal onward and do whatever other physiological response that particular transmitter dictates. Think of it like a volume control on a stereo: serotonin changes how efficiently neurons communicate with each other, making other signals louder or softer.

It’s one of the major mood neurotransmitters in our brains.

When serotonin levels are low, we’re more depressed, and when they’re high, we’re happier.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which is highly common throughout nature. Neurons (nerve cell) communicate by specialized areas of their cells called synapses where they are very close together.

The first nerve cell dumps neurotransmitters into the space between, and the second nerve cell on the other side has receptors which recognize the transmitter and respond accordingly.

Soon enough, the first cell has all its signal back inside it, and the two neurons are back to their resting state, ready to signal again when the time is right. Most often, it accompanies other transmitters, changing a neuron’s response to that particular signal.

Because of this, its used by all kinds of nerve cells all over the body, and serotonin levels can dramatically alter our behavior.

Levels too high can lead to sedation, whereas low levels are associated with debilitating psychiatric conditions and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

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