How Does Serotonin Regulate Your Mood and Appetite?

Hey Angels and Alphas,

We’re all aware that our bodies are chock-full of hormones, helpful messengers that allow our body to function – and function optimally. 

These miniscule substances travel throughout our tissues and organs where they keep all our vital and essential bodily processes humming along. 

One of these hormones, and one of the most often talked about hormones, is known as serotonin – a hormone vital to many key functions in the body.

Let’s take a deeper dive into serotonin and figure out how exactly it impacts our bodies, our appetite, our mood, and subsequently, everything we do.

What does serotonin actually do, and what happens when our serotonin levels get too low?

Serotonin plays a vital role in regulating our mood, appetite, memory, and even our sleep schedule. It also plays a key role in many other processes in our bodies, including our heart function, digestion, all the way down to our bladder control.

Major life events, lack of exercise, aging, a poor diet, all of these things can throw all our hormones out of whack, including serotonin. When your serotonin levels start running low, you may feel more irritable, anxious, sad, and have trouble sleeping. 

One approach to actually treating serious conditions like depression is to take selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, also known as SSRIs. This is a type of prescription medication that works to increase the levels of serotonin function inside your body. Common SSRIs include citalopram, sertraline, and fluoxetine.

Low serotonin levels will easily lead to changes in your appetite. When you’re either overly hungry or you have absolutely no appetite. Whether you eat too much or too little may also depend on other factors, including emotional responses to food, mood changes, stress eating, and more.

That being said, there are ways you can naturally increase your serotonin without any prescription medication.


Believe it or not, eating certain foods may actually increase serotonin levels in the body. Namely foods that are rich in tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that gets converted to serotonin in the brain. You can find tryptophan in protein-based foods such as tofu, dairy, meats, nuts, seeds, turkey, salmon, and so much more!


Physical movement is a massive predictor for healthy serotonin levels… and a good mood! If you can exercise at least 30 minutes a day, you will be naturally be releasing this hormone and increasing your endorphins. Endorphins are also feel-good hormones.

In fact, exercise may be just as effective for treating symptoms of depression as the prescription medication we talked about. The type of exercise you do doesn’t even seem to matter. Find activities you enjoy and do them regularly. Your entire body will be grateful.

But what happens when serotonin levels get too high?

Sometimes, some people may develop something called serotonin syndrome, understood as an excess of serotonin. This occurs very rarely, and most often happens when you take the medications we talked about earlier.  Too much serotonin can cause mild symptoms like sweating, shivers, confusion, headaches, high blood pressure, and digestive problems. That being said, it’s not something you should worry about if you’re not on this type of medication.

Bringing it all together…

If you feel that lately, you’ve been feeling depressed, anxious, irritable, or you’re experiencing any other symptoms of low serotonin, the best thing you can do is to seek professional advice. 

Low levels of serotonin can lead to bouts of depression, but if you’re someone who gets plenty of exercise, has a healthy relationship with food, and keeps their circle positive, your serotonin levels should naturally be inside healthy levels.

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