The gut brain connection

The Gut-Brain Connection | Part 1 : Serotonin

The gut brain connection

Many of us, just put up with constipation. We don’t talk about it and even when we’ve been to the doctor a hundred and ten times and it’s the same answer of “There’s nothing wrong with you, you just need more water and more fiber!” or “Here have some laxatives.” you either want to pull your hair out or cry, through lost hope. I know there has been many times when I wondered “Is it all in my head?”, well the quick answer to that is, NO.

From the doctors point of view constipation is one of the most complained about symptoms that he/she is presented with daily, so a quick fire way to resolve the problems is either change of diet or laxatives, and more often than not change of diet is all that is needed. But, what about some of us that genuinely have tried everything, diet change, exercise, relaxation techniques, increased water intake etc, but still no luck in the toilet department? Our constipation is chronic…

There are many reasons for constipation, but one reason could be to do with low serotonin levels.

What Is Serotonin?

Serotonin is a hormone manufactured from the amino acid Tryptophan and it is better know as ‘The Happy Hormone’ . The body cannot produce tryptophan and therefore we must get it from the food we eat; read my post ‘Foods high in tryptophan’. Tryptophan is stored in the body and used when needed to make serotonin. Over 95% of serotonin is produced in the gut, it is vital to our body’s functioning, it manages the contractions in the intestine to move food along the colon (which is what we will focus on), it controls our mood and emotions, appetite, sexual behaviour and sleep. So in other words it pretty, bloody important!

Serotonin & Constipation

Like I mentioned above, serotonin produces the wave like motions in the bowel to help move your stool along the colon, to the “exit” intern feeling the urge to have a bowel movement. For some of us who don’t have sufficient levels of serotonin in the body, the stools move through the colon slowly resulting in large dry stools which are difficult to pass. You may also notice that you suffer with depression, anxiety or always feeling hungry.


What Should I Do If I think I have Low Serotonin Levels?

Consult your doctor. He/she will either recommend a blood or urine sample to see if you have sufficient levels of serotonin in the body, he will then be able to help you with balancing out your hormones. One of the drugs on the market at the moment is Resolor Prucalopride, which is used in the treatment of chronic constipation in women.

So there you have it if you feel that is could be the result of your constipation, go have a chat with your doctor and go from there.

Best of Luck


Related Posts

The Gut Brain Connection | Part 2 : Gastrocolic Reflex & IBS

Colonic Inertia

Food High In Tryptophan

Can the Weather Cause Constipation? 




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2 Responses to The Gut-Brain Connection | Part 1 : Serotonin

  1. Tom January 27, 2015 at 1:39 am #

    Good post. I also believe that the gut brain connection can work the other way. I have been having gut problems for around six years now, and discovered last year that the cause of my issue is bacterial. I managed to pick up Blastocystis Hominis from somewhere, or I was carrying it all the time and it somehow became pathogenic, and two of the main symptoms are depression and anxiety. When I was at my worst I found that the more constipated I became, the more anxious I felt, then I’d have a sudden urge to get to a toilet asap, and when I had the anxiety would clear. If something is stopping you from absorbing Tryptophan in the right way, it makes logical sense that your brain will be affected! Cutting out grains and sugar helped me a great deal.

    • kate4health January 28, 2015 at 9:44 am #

      Hi Tom, thank you for your post!

      That’s a great point. Absorption of nutrients are key to health. If you have a kink in the chain it will produce a domino effect and that is where people are left lost in terms of where to look.

      I’m the same don’t eat any sugar other than what comes from certain fruits.

      Stay well!

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