What Are The Symptoms and Causes of Serotonin Deficiency

Posted on February 04, 2011 by Serotune | 33 comments
For the purposes of this article, our focus will be on serotonin as a neurotransmitter, how to identify serotonin deficiency, and the potential causes of serotonin deficiency.  Serotonin also plays a role outside of the brain but the causes and symptoms listed here are in relation to serotonin levels within the central nervous system.

Serotonin is the key brain chemical that generates feelings of optimism and relaxation.  Additionally, serotonin plays a role in certain brain functions such as the ability to focus, motor coordination and reflexes.  As you would expect, when we lack sufficient Serotonin a wide range of symptoms appear including edginess, insomnia, depression, poor concentration and an inexplicable predisposition to negativity.

Symptoms of Serotonin Deficiency

So how do you know if you are deficient in serotonin? While tests do exist to measure serotonin levels in the central nervous system they are not practical for the purposes of diagnosing serotonin deficiency. As an alternative, it is best to look at the symptoms of serotonin deficiency and determine if you have symptoms that match.  The following are common symptoms of serotonin deficiency:

  • Anxiety in typically low stress situations
  • Impatience without explanation
  • Fatigue when you should feel rested and energized
  • Cognitive impairment (inability to focus, poor memory, lack of mental clarity)
  • Negative thoughts with no apparent cause
  • Agitation
  • Mania/obsession
  • Mood swings
  • Strong sugar cravings
  • Indifference to situations you typically would care deeply about
  • Excessive worrying
  • Inability to fall and stay asleep
  • Moderate to overwhelming sadness
  • Feeling worse and agitated during bad/dark weather

The good news is that serotonin deficiency is highly treatable (we talk about options in future articles). Consult your doctor or a holistic health practitioner if you are experiencing severe symptoms before embarking on any program to treat your neurotransmitter deficiency. Your health care professional will help you gauge the severity of your deficiency and give you an individualized treatment plan to restore your serotonin levels quickly and effectively.

Special note: If you are experiencing thoughts about suicide, even if you do not intend to act on them, you should see a mental health professional immediately.  These thoughts are consistent with mild to severe depression and undertaking a self-guided treatment regimen could dramatically worsen your condition.

Causes of serotonin deficiency

Some people have a genetic pre-disposition to serotonin deficiency.  Genetic causes can vary widely, but can take the form in low or inefficient production of serotonin, inefficient absorption of key amino acids, lower then normal production of vitamin-D or countless other causes.  However, for most people that experience mild serotonin deficiency, the condition can be traced to a wide range of behavioral, environmental, physiological, and dietary causes.  The most common causes are listed here:

Behavioral Causes:

  • Lack of sufficient sleep
  • Not managing your stress levels
  • Lack of exercise/physical activity

Environmental Causes:

  • Insufficient exposure to sunlight
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals found in plastics such as bisphenol-A (BPA)
  • Consuming pesticide-laden meat and produce
  • Exposure to pesticides without sufficient protective gear

Dietary Causes

  • Insufficient consumption of high-protein non-processed food
  • Consuming too much caffeine and alcohol
  • Food allergies
  • Multiple vitamin and mineral deficiencies
  • Omega-3 deficiency

Physiological Causes:

  • Insulin resistance
  • Progesterone deficiency
  • Chronic infections
  • Glutathione deficiency
  • Human growth hormone deficiency
  • Insufficient blood flow in the brain
  • Inborn abnormalities in serotonin receptors

So if you suspect you have serotonin deficiency, what do you do now?  First, if you are experiencing and severe symptoms, see your doctor.  On the other hand, if your symptoms are relatively mild, read our article on how to increase serotonin levels without prescription medication.

    Hopefully you have found this article useful.  If you have any questions or comments please feel free to send feedback to  Biocursor Research is the creator of Serotune Amino Balance, an all natural serotonin supplement.  



    • Meera

      I was given Luvox 50 (fluboxamine maleate)I am just afraid to take it. Too many side effects.

    • Joan

      I have ALL of the above symptoms! I felt a complete change from normal to varying degrees of depression after childbirth at 20. I have been on and off anti-depressants all of my adult life, and to my detriment, also self-medicated. Why is this condition not addressed by the mental health community?

    • onlyone

      I need a plan. and a good physciatrist and phscolatrist.

      nice read.

    • Ruth

      Found to have a serotonin level of 11 several months ago. I know that it is effecting how I am feeling physically but not doctor will address this. Including the doctor who ordered the test. I would prefer not to have to take a lot of medication. Any ideas?

    • STACY

      I have a serotonin deficiency and I take Prozac. It changed my life for the better !!

    • Lorraine brown

      I am on 100mg sertraline and feel light headed when walking have had a mri scan which came back clear can my medication be to blame.

    • Linda Beckman

      I have IBs and my sex life is affected by the low dose of SSR that I take to keep it in order. I already take a low dose of mirtazapine.Would seratune help me?

    • Pat Brisendine

      I take 300mg of Venlafaxine during the day. To keep my body balanced for sleep I took Anaproslam for years. I was taken off this medicine a few months ago. I am now taking traZODone which is driving me crazy. Is there a better medication for me to take at night?.

    • Zakariyya

      I feel very happy after reading lot of information from,

    • Sndy

      Anna, I have a very low serotonin level and suffer with debilitating migraines. It turns out that they are closely related. Migraines change and you have certain symptoms with one migraine and different symptoms with others. It doesn’t mean that they aren’t all migraines. I have a several types of migraines. But finding out my serotonin level is low, gives me hope that I can get the serotonin level increased and get rid of the migraines once and for all. I also have a low vitamin d absorption. They are also closely connected with the low serotonin level. I’m continuing to learn more, but you have to keep pushing those in healthcare to take you seriously and don’t give up. Good Luck!


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