A neurotransmitter…it is created by a biochemical conversion process that combines tryptophan, a component of proteins, with tryptophan hydroxylase, a chemical reactor. Together, they form 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), or serotonin. It is estimated that 90% of the body’s serotonin is made in the digestive tract
It carries signals between nerve cells. It is made from the essential amino acid tryptophan and is found mainly in the intestine and in the central nervous system. Although some consider Serotonin to be a hormone. It is produced in both the intestines and the brain. It is also present in the blood platelets and the central nervous system (CNS). Serotonin has several functions in the body, including reducing appetite as you eat, regulating mood and helping to establish a feeling of well-being. Low levels of serotonin have been linked with depression.
As it occurs widely throughout the body, it is believed to influence a variety of body and psychological functions, however, serotonin cannot cross the blood-brain barrier, so any serotonin that is used inside the brain must be produced inside the brain.
Altered levels of this peripheral serotonin have been associated with IBS, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis. Research at Caltech, published in the April 9 issue of the journal Cell, shows that certain bacteria in the gut are important for the production of peripheral serotonin.