Happiness is in your gut.
One of the most surprising things I have learnt is that most of the serotonin in our bodies is found in our gut. Wikipedia tells me its 80%, while digestionblog tells me its more about 95%… regardless of the correct stat, its a lot more than whats in our brains. This serotonin thing is commonly referred to as the ‘happy hormone’ as it has a lot to do with regulating our moods and making us ‘feel happy’ as well as lots of other things in our digestive tract. (Nevermind the fact its not actually a hormone, its a neurotransmitter!)
One thing (among many) that this nifty little NT does is control your appetite. So when your stomach is releasing dopamine (the ‘feed me feed me’ critters ) and you eat to shut. it. up. serotonin is released to activate other receptors to tell you that you are full – 5-HT squared. This was exciting to know, because for the longest time I had no appetite. Thanks for that over indulgent serotonin.
The other thing I also got a kick out of learning about this, is that its the thing that makes you vomit! Long story short, your gut cells release your serotonin in response to food. If your food makes these cells irritable, they release serotonin to make your gut move faster (literal kick in the guts!)… If your gut is moving way too fast, and your platelets cant take it all in, your little serotonin men running free in your blood goes sky high which triggers 5HT3 receptors which stimulate vomiting.
These 5-HT receptor families certainly do have a lot to answer for.
So, my feed me critters were never screaming at me, because I had too much serotonin running around in my gut (along with no nutrients being absorbed in my intestines) and my gut was going, lady wtf is my food, youre starving me… weight gain! As it was explained to me, too much serotonin being produced and exacerbated by my little intolerance and then not being able to be converted to its active state to be used by my body and let me be ‘normal’… little wonder I feel like crapzilla.
Either way, too much of the actual serotonin and not enough processing of it affects your brain and your gut. Which is why you will often read the words ‘depression’ listed in the symptoms for gluten intolerance, IBS or Coeliac disease. While I certainly wouldnt have added depression in my list of symptoms, I can understand the importance of getting all the chemicals in order instead of running around in some sort of over hyped combat state.
Obviously, my disclaimer here is that I am not a chemist, and this is my english dumbed down version for my little blonde brain as I understand it. However, if any of my doctors explained my neurotransmitters to me as being in an ‘over hyped combat state’ then I’m pretty sure that’s a doctor I would keep for life. And I certainly dont go uggggh I feel full, oh! thats okay it’s just my dopamine reacting with my 5-HT receptors to create serotonin to tell me that I’ve certainly had enough to eat. Or whatever. But connecting the two is certainly intriguing, especially in ones lunch break….