Huyen Nguyen

Did you know there’s a connection between depression and digestive issues? Because there is.

They say gut feelings are guardian angels, but they don’t say our gut’s cells create 80-90% of our serotonin. They say 5-hydroxytryptamine, but they don’t say the second result that comes up when you look serotonin up is how to increase serotonin in the human brain without drugs. Like, what’s the deal with that? 

Basically, serotonin is happiness. Have you even been asked: do you know the secret to happiness? I’m sure you have. Well, now you know. 5-hydroxytryptamine. If you needed an excuse to text an old fling, here you have it. If you needed a sign, this is it. As big as you’re gonna get, so enjoy it. Had to give you a career to destroy it. What is a rappers favorite candy? Eminems! That riddle is yet *another* completely reasonable, not at all creepy reason to text someone. 

So anyway, what do anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and insomnia all have in common? If you were gonna say the letter i, you’re right. If you were gonna say, low serotonin is linked to all of them, you’re also right. 4+5=9, but so is 6+3 ya know? Serotonin, depending on where it’s released (speaking of, when will Rihanna release her album? Did you hear she’s supposedly dropping 2 (deux!) at once? That would take my serotonin levels through the roof!) can affect memory, or mood, or cognition. Especially with depression, a low level of serotonin is believed to be a leading component.

Shawty getting low, low, low and when I say shawty I mean serotonin, can be caused by, among other things:

  • Tequila (alcohol)
  • lattes (caffeine)
  • aghhhh (anger)
  • hormonal imbalances
  • Lucky Strike (cigarettes)
  • Cheetos all day, erryday (poor diet)
  • ecstasy/diet pills/pills et al
  • lack of sun
  • not shaking your ass (lack of exercise)

It’s a which came first of sorts: stress can cause low serotonin levels, just as serotonin levels being low can be a source of stress per se. You can do stuff that will tell your body to produce more 5-hydroxytryptamine:

  • exercise,
  • regular meals,
  • good sleep,
  • meditation,
  • natural sunlight usually help.

I know you’ve heard of them all your life, but they all are soooo important. This is your daily reminder 30 minutes of moving your body 3 times a week reaps alllll the benefits, you don’t need a gym membership, you don’t need anything but a body.

I’m not sure why physical health is usually portrayed as something you can achieve only in extreme ways, and why those extreme ways are portrayed as normal or easily achievable for the average Joe. 6 intense workouts a week, sometimes a run in those days too, ONE rest day? Food you don’t enjoy stripped of color, salt, oil, carbs, LIFE! Maybe has something to do with industries making profit out of it?

As much as I’m an advocate for holistic healing (like if you cringed a little) and as much as I believe the biggest drug cartel on the planet is the pharmaceutical industry, most times you will need SSRIs if you suffer from low serotonin levels or other mental health problems. SSRIs are bae.

Pills help a loooot of people, and the shame surrounding their use for mental conditions makes 0 sense. Imagine telling someone suffering from diabetes they should just be positive. You wouldn’t.

The narrative that people who need pills to produce more serotonin, or to feel okay, are not trying their best because if they were they wouldn’t need pills, is extremely harmful. We should be grateful AF medicine has advanced so much that it can help with all sorts of deficiencies or issues, not question whether we should be taking something we need.

Back pain, chest pain, joint pain also usually coexist with depression or other mood disorders. Also, according to this neurologist’s  book, 52% of people with gluten intolerances suffer from depression. This long-term study of 115071 subjects showed association of MDD and various neurological, respiratory and gastrointestinal conditions. 

You shouldn’t feel guilty if you’ve explored other holistic treatments, and they haven’t really done it for you, IE. lack of serotonin can make you not want to exercise ya know? At that point, the number of studies conducted declaring exercise just as effective as medication don’t matter, mean anything to you or be alone motivation to get you to work out.

When you can’t find the strength to get out of bed, you  can’t do a strength workout. A post on Facebook by Chryslin D. Robinson said: if you say ’mental illness’ 3 times in the mirror, someone with a live laugh love tshirt will appear behind you and ask if you tried going outside. 
Don’t be that person. Most importantly, why do you own a live laugh love shirt? Come on, have some self respect.

In one of their latest podcasts, Julien was reading his childhood letters and in one of them, he’d wished for an Xbox, and world peace. How sweet is that?! I know I said I wanted to end these with a lesson I learned, or was trying to teach (like if you cringed again) but let’s say I changed my mind.

I changed my mind. There, I said it.

Did you say it? I thought we were on this together?

In other(s) words, here’s what I wish for:

“Most things will be okay eventually, but not everything will be. Sometimes you’ll put up a good fight and lose. Sometimes you’ll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go. Acceptance is a small, quiet room.” 

Everything might not be ok soon, or ever, but every time we give these fights our all, we’re helping to make that small, quiet room cozier. Better. Safer. Kinda… okay.

I wish today each of us gets to view the ways some of the aspects of our lives are related, in a new light, and I wish your brain produces lots of 5-hydroxytryptamine, and if not, I wish you find the things that work for you, and that small, quiet room is one you enjoy staying in. 

And world peace, of course.

Disclaimer: I take my research seriously, as well as try to be as helpful/informative as possible with the experience and knowledge I’ve gathered throughout the years. However, this information may not be suitable for your specific situation, it is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, and shouldn’t be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition.


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