Low serotonin is key to "perceive, think, act"

Discussion in 'Scientific Studies' started by haidut, Jul 16, 2015.

  1. haidut

    haidut Member

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    Ray has written about the uselessness of the authoritarian concept of "protocol" as a guide of behavior, thinking and living in general. Ray's motto instead is that the only valid protocol would be something along the lines of "perceive, think, act".
    This study seems to establish that low serotonin (high dopamine) is key to being able to act according to Ray's motto. High serotonin, on the other hand, was associated with a protocol-like thinking and behavior, which the study calls "flexible, goal-directed responding". The paper also cites studies showing that serotonin is implicated in punishment and behavioral inhibition, as well as guilt, shame and depression.
    Btw, I find it funny that they call the "goal-directed responding" "flexible" while the "stimulus-response habitual response" is viewed as rigid and inflexible.

    "...Previous studies have yielded contradictory results about the interaction of dopamine (DA) and 5-HT in this balance. It has been suggested that DA biases behavior towards habitual responding, with 5-HT offsetting this phenomenon and directing the balance toward more flexible, goal-directed responding. However, previous research in animals and humans suggests roles for DA in both goal-directed and habitual action (De Wit et al., 2012). Furthermore, 5-HT has been implicated in punishment and behavioral inhibition and, more specifically, a reduced incentive motivation when 5-HT is low (Sanders et al., 2007; Cools et al., 2008; Hebart and Gläscher, 2014). Therefore, the relative and multiple roles of DA and 5-HT in the balance of goal-directed and habitual responding are unclear."

    http://ijnp.oxfordjournals.org/content/ ... yv050.full

    "...The paper by Worbe et al. (2015), which was recently published in this journal, focuses on the effects of acute tryptophan (TRP) depletion (ATD), a neurodietary physiological method to decrease central nervous 5-HT synthesis in humans for a short period of time, on the balance between hypothetical goal-directed and habitual systems. In this particular study conducted in healthy adult volunteers, a short-term serotonergic deficit induced by ATD was associated with a shift of behavioral performance towards habitual responding, the magnitude of which was predicted by a steeper decline in plasma levels of TRP, the physiological precursor amino acid of 5-HT. This finding is of particular relevance, as it shows that central nervous 5-HT function modulates the balance between goal-directed and stimulus-response habitual systems of behavioral control. In particular, Worbe et al. (2015) used the de Wit methodology to disentangle the role of 5-HT in goal-directed vs habitual action with careful controls for its other actions. They used ATD, which is a widely used translational research method, to lower serotonergic function with a TRP-deficient beverage (Young et al., 1985; Hood et al., 2005; Zepf et al., 2014). The authors showed that after an ATD challenge, subjects increased responding for devalued stimuli during the slip-of-action stage, indicating a devaluation of the outcome without changes in response-outcome learning. This effect implies a shift in the balance of action toward habitual responding during ATD. One useful feature of the present study was the use of several controls for other potential actions of 5-HT. No differences for valuable outcomes were found between groups, in contrast to previous reports suggesting insensitivity to reward value after pharmacological 5-HT reduction (Rogers et al., 2003; Line et al., 2014). Furthermore, ATD had no effect during a control test of response disinhibition, while other studies indicated a dual role of 5-HT in negative affect and behavioral inhibition (Cools et al., 2008)."
     
  2. Makrosky

    Makrosky Member

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    Very interesting haidut!!! Thanks!!

    It's not conclusive at all btw : Therefore, the rela-
    tive and multiple roles of DA and 5-HT in the balance of goal-
    directed and habitual responding are unclear.

    We have to be careful cherry-picking papers that APPARENTLY MIGHT confirm our point of view, and discard others. It's a very well known cognitive bias.
     
  3. OP
    haidut

    haidut Member

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    Agreed, I was not trying to cherry pick. Just found this study on Google News and it seems lately there are quite a few anti-serotonin studies.
    Btw, the study cites quite a few other studies that point to serotonin being the main culprit in inducing rigid behavior and thinking. So, I don't think this is an isolated finding. Even pharma companies are moving away from the SSRI model of depression and focusing on developing drugs similar to tianeptine and mianserin. So, the trend on serotonin is about to reverse 180 degrees and nobody seems to be saying much about the decades of propaganda that serotonin is the "happiness hormone".
     
  4. narouz

    narouz Member

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    I understand where he's coming from.
    Still, do you refuse to look at studies using protocols? :)
     
  5. sweetpeat

    sweetpeat Member

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    Are blood tests a reliable way to measure serotonin? And if so, how low are we to shoot for? I'm curious because I recently had my serotonin checked. It was 149 which seems lowish by the lab's reference range (0-420). But how good is it by Peat's standards?
     
  6. OP
    haidut

    haidut Member

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    Plasma serotonin is fairly reliable in detecting abnormal peripheral levels such as in carcinoid syndrome. However, it does not correlate well with brain levels since serotonin does not cross the BBB and in the brain it is manufactured from tryptophan. So, tryptophan availability is what determines serotonin levels in the brain. If your serotonin is normal in plasma but you get symptoms like fatigue, chills, agitation, etc. then you probably have high serotonin in brain. Restricting tryptophan intake or limiting its entry into the brain by taking additional BCAA, gelatin, tyrosine, etc should help.
     
  7. schultz

    schultz Member

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    Cherry picking is warranted if you're picking the satisfactory cherries and leaving the rotten ones behind. Not all studies are of equal value. Some studies may be compromised with conflicts of interest or poor protocol or "set-up" to demonstrate some specific idea.

    Some articles base the entire study on a faulty, assumed premise like "Serotonin makes people happy, therefore..." or "Omega-6 is essential, therefore..." or "Cholesterol causes heart disease, therefore lowering cholesterol is automatically healthy."

    Including articles like this in a meta analysis for example could cause a foggy conclusion. It muddy's the waters. Of course the opposite could be true and people could cherry pick only rotten studies to prove a point.

    Sometimes cherry picking is good, and sometimes it's bad... "thanks for that useless tautology Schultz." :roll:

    Anyway, thanks for posting this Haidut.
     
  8. sweetpeat

    sweetpeat Member

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    Definitely have the fatigue. That and brain fog are my two biggest issues right now. My recent thyroid labs looked pretty good, so I'm trying to track down another culprit. Would serotonin cause brain fog?
     
  9. OP
    haidut

    haidut Member

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    It can, but brain fog and fatigue are much more common in thyroid issues. Have you done any steroid analysis as well - i.e. pregnenolone, DHEA, cortisol, male hormones, etc? Cholesterol?
     
  10. Makrosky

    Makrosky Member

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    And l-lysine maybe?

    What about l-tyrosine? Have you tried it haidut? Is it safe (besides RP's general recommendation of avoiding individual aminos) ? Can it cause withdrawals or up/downregulations or stuff like that?
     
  11. OP
    haidut

    haidut Member

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    I have only used tyrosine in combination with BCAA. Used to take 500mg - 1,000mg with a 3g dose of BCAA and it did reduce serotonin for me. The same with phenylalanine and BCAA combo. I stopped taking tyrosine and phenylalanine as separate aminos when I realized adding 3g - 5g of BCAA to a decent protein meal achieved the same effects on mood, libido, etc.
    Lysine would be a good addition to try if someone is using the BCAA + tyrosine/phenylalanine combo. Adding 500mg - 1,000mg to each dose as a start and working higher if needed.
     
  12. Makrosky

    Makrosky Member

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    Thanks man! Can't tyrosine be taken without the bcaa's??
     
  13. sweetpeat

    sweetpeat Member

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    I've never had pregnenolone tested. Cholesterol was 215 in April. It's been about a year since I last tested DHEA and testosterone and they were both bottom of the barrel. Cortisol was 12.1 a year ago. I've been taking progest-E to lower estrogen, which I suppose can lower all of the above as well? I could try backing off on the progest-e, but I'm post-menopausal so I figure I'm a walking estrogen factory.

    Here's another thought: Could there maybe be a lag time in synthesizing hormones from cholesterol? It's only recently that my thyroid numbers are decent, so maybe it takes a while for other issues to improve?

    I didn't mean to hijack your thread, haidut. I should probably get more recent testing on the above items and then start a new thread. Is there anything else I should check that would contribute to fatigue and brain fog?
     
  14. OP
    haidut

    haidut Member

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    If cholesterol is fine then, as Ray said, it could be a vitamin A deficiency or thyroid, or something blocking the conversion through enzymes. I think it could help getting pregnenolone tested and vitamin A as well. If thyroid is working fine then I would expect cholesterol to drop even more. How are your temps and pulse?
     
  15. sweetpeat

    sweetpeat Member

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    Pulse is usually 85-90. Temps are usually 98.6+ by midday and into the evening, though basal temp is usually around 97.3.
     
  16. OP
    haidut

    haidut Member

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    OK, so it seems thyroid working. Next thing I would check is pregnenolone and vitamin A levels.
     
  17. sweetpeat

    sweetpeat Member

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    Ok, will do. Thank you for taking the time to brainstorm with me. It means a lot.
     
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