Dopamine and serotonin: Brain chemicals explained

Dopamine and serotonin are chemical messengers, or neurotransmitters, that help regulate many bodily functions. They have roles in sleep and memory, as well as metabolism and emotional well-being.

People sometimes refer to dopamine and serotonin as the “happy hormones” due to the roles they play in regulating mood and emotion.

They are also involved in several mental health conditions, including low mood and depression.

Dopamine and serotonin are involved in similar bodily processes, but they operate differently. Imbalances of these chemicals can cause different medical conditions that require different treatments.

Full story at Medical News Today

What are the health benefits of 5-HTP?

L-5 hydroxytryptophan is a natural chemical in the body that people can also take as a nutritional supplement. Some people believe that taking the supplement can improve certain aspects of health, including mental health and sleep quality.

The compound is a natural precursor to a neurotransmitter called serotonin, which helps produce “feel-good” chemicals in the brain and body.

However, there is little significant research to prove that L-5 hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) can offer such benefits.

In this article, learn about the possible benefits of 5-HTP, as well as its possible side effects.

Full story at Medical News Today

Psychedelic compound triggers near-death experiences

A new study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, suggests that a psychedelic compound found in ayahuasca replicates near-death experiences in the brain.

Ayahuasca is a psychoactive brew made from different plants.

A main ingredient is dimethyltryptamine (DMT), which is a “non-selective serotonin receptor agonist” — that is, a compound that boosts serotonin, or the “happiness hormone.”

DMT has to be taken with other complementary substances for its psychoactive properties to become active.

Full story at Medical News Today

Is it safe to drink alcohol while taking Lexapro?

Lexapro is the brand name of a drug called escitalopram, which doctors prescribe to treat depression and anxiety. Medical practitioners consider Lexapro to be safe and effective for these conditions. However, they do not recommend that people drink alcohol while taking Lexapro.

Lexapro belongs to a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Serotonin is a chemical messenger or neurotransmitter that affects mood. SSRIs help to restore the natural balance of serotonin in the brain.

Doctors consider SSRIs to be one of the safest types of antidepressants. However, some people taking Lexapro may experience one or more of the following side effects:

Full story at Medical News Today

Rethinking serotonin could lead to a shift in psychiatric care

A better understanding of how a key chemical messenger acts in the brain could lead to a radical shift in psychiatric care, according to a new research paper.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which helps brain cells communicate with one another, playing important roles in stabilising mood and regulating stress.

Despite its importance, current models to explain serotonin’s function in the brain remain incomplete.

Now, in a review paper published this month in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, researchers from Imperial College London suggest that serotonin pathways are more nuanced than previously thought.

Full story at Science Daily