Past studies have denoted that people with Alzheimer’s Disease have low levels of a neurotransmitter named Serotonin in their brains. This neurotransmitter governs your appetite, mood, sleep and other functions in the body.

Recent studies and research now suggest that low serotonin can be a cause of Alzheimer’s Disease rather than just a symptom of the disease. Learn more about the role of serotonin in Alzheimer’s disease and what you can do to restore Serotonin levels naturally.

The Relationship Between Serotonin and Alzheimer’s

The cause of Alzheimer’s Disease is still unknown. While researchers are still trying to understand its pathology, what is certain is that genetic, molecular and neurological factors contribute towards the development of Alzheimer’s Disease.

A new study undertaken by the John Hopkins University of Medicine in the USA ascertains that serotonin plays a critical role in the pathology of Alzheimer’s. The study involved positron emission tomography (PET) scans to evaluate the brains of 56 participants. This group was divided into 2 – one group with mild cognitive impairment, a starting stage of Alzheimer’s and another group with healthy adults.

During the research, the activity of serotonin was traced using radioactive carbon. The finding was that people with mild cognitive impairment had 38% less serotonin than their healthy counterparts. It was also found that the participant’s lower serotonin transporters correlated with lower scores on the memory tests.


The Role of Serotonin in Alzheimer’s Disease

In the past studies have indicated that people with Alzheimer’s have low levels of Serotonin. It has also been shown that the accumulation of amyloid plaque deposits in the brain occurs due to a decrease in monoaminergic neurons – the neurons that regulate serotonin and other neurotransmitters.

Besides, it has also been proven that even a night of poor sleep can increase your risk for Alzheimer’s. A central neurotransmitter that governs your sleep cycle is that of Serotonin. Therefore replenishing serotonin levels in your brain can actually help you sleep better and in turn, reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s as well.

While more research is required to establish the role of Serotonin in the progression of Alzheimer’s,  the study suggests that increasing serotonin function in the brain could prevent the development of memory loss and hamper the progression of Alzheimer’s.

How to Restore Serotonin Function Naturally?

Certain drugs like antidepressants such as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) tend to bind to serotonin transporters to boost overall mood and curb depression. However, artificially boosting serotonin levels can cause side-effects. Here are some natural ways to boost your Serotonin levels.

1. Your Diet

Tryptophan is an amino acid that is needed to synthesize serotonin. So, eating foods high in tryptophan like salmon, eggs, nuts, spinach, seeds is essential. You can also consume inositol to improve serotonin levels –  beans, fruits, and whole grains have the highest concentration of inositol. 

Mixing high-tryptophan foods with healthy carbohydrates promotes better absorption in the body and leaves more tryptophan in the blood. This is turn will aid to boost serotonin levels.

In addition, consume more foods rich in Vitamin B6 as it is also very important to synthesize serotonin.  According to a study, even mild deficiency of B6 Vitamin levels results in down-regulation of GABA and serotonin synthesis. Get more Vitamin B6 from cauliflower, bananas, avocado, grains, seeds, and nuts.

2. Sunlight

Light therapy is a common remedy for treating depression. But, nothing is better than natural sunlight for health. Sunshine helps to initiate serotonin production. So, soak in more sunlight and improve your serotonin levels.

3. Meditation

Meditation is believed to stimulate an acid called 5-HIAA in the brain that is directly related to serotonin. In addition, meditation is a great way to beat stress and regulate the right levels of cortisol in the body which can hamper the production of serotonin.

Serotonin can be a missing link to treating Alzheimer’s Disease and be used as a therapeutic target in the future.

With that being said, Serotonin is not a panacea for mental health. There are several other neurotransmitters that are equally important. To understand if Serotonin can be beneficial for your mental health, talk to your physician.

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