Are Alcohol and Serotonin Levels Something to Worry About?

Are Alcohol and Serotonin Levels Something to Worry About?

Alcohol definitely gives us a lot to worry about, and that is before you even get to the effects it has on your health. It can lead to aggressive behavior, affect our mental health, screw our dopamine levels, bring about suicidal thoughts, to name but a few, and the long-term effects can be devastating. Our brain functions are very intricate and complicated. Even to this day, there are unanswered questions. Do you know the effects that alcohol has on serotonin levels? Do you even know what serotonin levels are? If your answer is no to both of those questions, then continue reading to find out if it is something to worry about.

What Are Serotonin Levels?

Serotonin levels refer to the generally accepted measurement of “the feel-good chemical (serotonin) that is produced by the human nerve cell.” Just like every other substance that is required, produced and used by the human body, serotonin has an ideal, exact measurement or range that must be in the blood at every given time. The acceptable measurement or range of serotonin that is needed for optimal functioning in the human body is 101 to around 283 nano-grams per every milliliter (ng/ml). It is, however, important to note that the measurement as stated above could slightly differ or vary according to the size and or sample that is tested. It is, therefore, advisable that you speak to a physician regarding specific test and or result. 

High and low levels of serotonin refer to any measurement that is either higher or lower than the acceptable range (101 to around 283 nanograms per every milliliter) of serotonin in the human blood. A high serotonin level in the human blood could be an early or advance sign of carcinoid. Carcinoid is a cancerous tumor with the potential to grow in multiple places within the human body. Again, it is advisable to get a physician to further analyze every test and results that reveal a high level of serotonin.

How Does Alcohol Affect Serotonin Levels?

Alcohol can cause spikes and fluctuations in the body’s serotonin levels. This isn’t really great and can get severely worse with excessive and consistent alcohol consumption. Everybody’s serotonin levels are different and depending on whether they are generally higher, lower, or level. Various foods and beverages interact with people differently. Caffeine, for example, has been shown to lower serotonin levels. So, when people have a generally lower level of serotonin, then coffee and sodas will likely have the opposite effect than the typical buzz that most people have from caffeine. 

The consumption of alcohol generally can and, in most cases will trigger a tremendous release of the substance serotonin from the neurons within the human body. This enormous release of serotonin usually results in a temporary high euphoric mood, but as soon as the temporary euphoria feelings reduce, a more than the corresponding reduction (that is lower than the initial level) of the serotonin takes place within the human body. A direct fallout of this outcome is the desire of the victim to consume more alcohol in the futile bid to attain their initial or unusually heightened level of serotonin. This process of heightening and lowering of the serotonin level contained within the human body through the excessive consumption of alcohol will usually (eventually) leads to addiction

Is Alcohol and Serotonin Levels Something to Worry About?

Umm…yes, 100%, absolutely! The concern for serotonin levels come when drinking alcohol is a regular and excessive occurrence. When a person abuses alcohol, the serotonin levels fluctuate so much that they eventually deplete. The worst result in this is that the body then struggles to metabolize serotonin meaning that levels are rarely balanced and can often remain very low a majority of the time. 

This then causes severe depression and anxiety. So, yes, a night out drinking will affect your serotonin levels in a similar way to how candy impacts your sugar levels. It spikes dramatically then it drops significantly. However, the danger is that when alcohol abuse is discontinued the damage may already be done. It’s not just going to regulate itself within a day or two. The heavy feelings of depression that stems from these irregular and low serotonin levels can then cause an addict to relapse.

Treatment Options for Depleted Serotonin Levels

Don’t be fooled by the subheading here. When you begin to research treatment for serotonin depletion you often find the SSRI drugs pop up. Now there is a lot of controversy surrounding these drugs, so we aren’t even going to go into it. That decision is up to you. However, there are other ways that you can assist with serotonin levels. First, you would need to speak to a doctor to find out what your levels are. Serotonin cannot be eaten via foods in the same way that vitamins and minerals can; however, foods that are a rich source of the amino acid Tryptophan can encourage the production of serotonin. Which can be beneficial for those that have low levels. Other than that—and perhaps some medicinal alternatives—it pretty much comes down to preventative measures.

The Effects of CBD on Serotonin Levels

Much research into the sheer extent of CBDs effect on the neuroreceptors is yet to be completed, and so at this current point in time, we can only go from the results and potentials that we have seen so far. One of the leading reasons behind the struggle of depression is when the body is unable—or struggles to—metabolize serotonin. Unsurprisingly, many people are often skeptical about taking prescription anti-depressants due to the allegations that they are addictive, can make you feel spaced out, and can be extremely hard to wean off. 

There are some anti-depressants on the market that increases serotonin levels which were originally thought to be beneficial in combating depression. Yet, with more studies, it seems as though these particular antidepressants are actually causing more harm than good. The research into CBD that we have currently seen has shown that it can actually regulate serotonin levels.

It is expected that much more research and studies into CBD and its neurological effects will be underway very soon, if not already. Experts are hopeful that CBD will soon be introduced as a powerful treatment for many ailments.

This article by Madeleine Taylor is originally published at SundayScaries.

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