What inhibits serotonin?
As a messenger substance that transmits information between nerve cells, serotonin is involved in numerous processes in the body. These include mood, which is why serotonin is often referred to as the happiness hormone, but also appetite, sleep-wake rhythm and body temperature. These processes are regulated by the binding of the neurotransmitter to specific receptors.
How does serotonin work?
When the body forms 5-HTP from the amino acid tryptophan in the first stage and then serotonin from this, the neurotransmitter is initially stored in so-called vesicles until it is needed. When needed, it is then released from these so that it can bind to the corresponding receptors and thereby develop its effect. Depending on the desired effect, other receptors are selected.
Once it has fulfilled its task, a small part of the messenger is broken down and a certain part is reabsorbed into the vesicles, where it is stored until its next use. This has the advantage that large quantities of serotonin do not have to be constantly reproduced, but a part can be recycled, so to speak. However, there are mechanisms or active substances that inhibit the reuptake of serotonin so that it remains longer in the synaptic cleft. As a result, serotonin levels are increased overall and the neurotransmitter remains active longer, so that its effect is maintained for longer. This is particularly useful when low serotonin or serotonin deficiency causes certain symptoms or complaints.
What inhibits serotonin?
The reuptake of serotonin can be blocked by certain active substances. These agents are known as serotonin inhibitors or, more precisely, as so-called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. The English term is "selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors", from which the abbreviation SSRI - also commonly used in German - is derived. SSRIs block the proteins in the central nervous system that are responsible for reuptaking serotonin. By blocking the transport proteins, the serotonin stays longer in the synaptic cleft and has a longer effect there. Because of this effect on serotonin, SSRIs are typically used as antidepressants to sustainably increase serotonin levels and alleviate depressive symptoms. However, they are also used for anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders as well as eating disorders or fibromyalgia.
The body constantly produces serotonin, which is released when needed to achieve the desired effect. After "use", it is reabsorbed and stored in a certain proportion. To maintain the effect permanently, or at least longer, there are certain serotonin inhibitor drugs that prevent this reuptake or storage. These selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), as they are correctly called, are used primarily to treat depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders.