Posted by melissal , Apr 22,2002,16:09   Archive
I'm sorry if this is a bit long,and not directly related with the subject, but I didn't want to take out just part of it and damage the explanation of the relation between dopamine and serotonine.

Dear Dr. J.,

I ran across an article that talks about PMS and elevated serotonin levels. I have an elevated serotonin level 1 1/2 to 2 times normal and is causing problems. I do not take any of the drugs that increase serotonin.
Do you have any idea what can be the cause of this? I have flushing of the face and neck, a constant headache, abdominal cramping, wheezing, muscle and joint pain all over a foggy feeling, unreal feeling, overwhelming fatigue, problems with concentrating and memory, thinking clear, irritability, etc. Doctors have talked about carcinoid tumors but none found yet. It all started to be bad while I was pregnant 8 yrs ago but it became a serious problem after childbirth and I have been battling with problems ever since. Any idea would be really appreciated.

Thanks, Deb

Hello Deb
Let us start off with familiar ground and explain how serotonin is produced and where it comes from. After we establish the foundation then we will be able to expand your circumstance and hopefully develop it in to a realistic situation for your case.

What is Serotonin?
Serotonin is described as 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HTP):a vasoconstrictor, liberated by platelets, that inhibit gastric secretions (digestive enzymes/acids in your gut) and stimulates smooth muscles. Serotonin is also present in relatively high concentrations in some areas of the central nervous system (CNS), and occurs in many peripheral tissues, cells and in carcinoid tumors.

How does Serotonin work?
Now that we have the description out of the way let us get a little bit deeper
as to how serotonin functions. Serotonin acts in the spinal cord as an
analgesic or pain suppresser. A great amount of serotonin is produced in the brain stem in an area called the raphe magnus. The raphe magnus helps one to modulate or control the sensory experience, This way we don't overwhelm the cortex and become sensory sensitive. In other words overreact to the situations that are before us or that we come in contact with! This area also has a direct affect on the ability to sleep, as well as on the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is a regulatory center for vital function and is highly involved in hormonal regulation. In the gut serotonin is produced in the APUD cells of the gastrointestinal tract and the pancreas. And, surprise!. the greatest amount coming from the appendix.

Diet Factors
Dietary considerations would be looking at the sources of tryptophan, since serotonin is a by-product of the tryptophan pathway. If your diet would consist of high turkey and cheese one would automatically elevate the serotonin levels. Also carbohydrate metabolism is very important. When the diet is rich in carbohydrates there is an elevation of glucose in the body. When this occurs the pancreas islet cells produce insulin to lower glucose levels in the blood stream. Remember earlier that serotonin is produced by the APUD cells in the pancreas as well as the gut. If you have insulin-handling problems, the pancreas may become overwhelmed and create problems in the regulation of serotonin.

Hormonal Factors
It is also very important to realize that there is an antagonistic hormone to
serotonin in the body call dopamine. Dopamine is also produced in the gut
as well as in the brain. There is a regulation that occurs within the hypothalamus of dopamine and prolactin inhibiting factor (PIF). So now we begin to ask some questions back to you. If you have experienced problems since childbirth 8 years ago, questions begin to arise on how was lactation after childbirth? Did you ever have trouble with lactation? (If you did, that would mean your prolactin levels were low then, which could indicate your serotonin levels were already high.)
Dopamine is also very important in regulation of movement within the basal ganglia. This is the area where Parkinson's is occurring, the inability to control movement such as tremors, and blepharospasms.

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Re: Dopamine?1/??????????

Re : Dopamine?1 --- melissal
Posted by June in Toronto (June Floyd,June in Toronto), Apr 22,2002,22:07 Top of Thread Archive
I see the word `blepharospasms' at the very end of this post, but what does it all mean - to whom is it meant to be for, etc,etc.?

June in Toronto who is very confused

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Re: Dopamine?1/??????????

Re : Re: Dopamine?1/?????????? --- June in Toronto
Posted by melissal , Apr 23,2002,08:11 Top of Thread Archive

Basically it explains the delicate balance between dopamine and serotonine, two neurotransmitters (neuro as in nerves and transmitter as in conection or transmission), and how it has been seen that when serotonine is high and dopamine is low you can get involuntary spasms (like bleph!).
Also says how serotonine increases when you eat way too much cheese or carbohydrates (starch).The increase in serotonine can cause a decrease in dopamine.

I'll be more careful next time.

I thought it was very interesting, and I hope that is clearer for you the way I just explained it.


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