Building up Serotonin to replenish Dopamine ?

Discussion in 'Men's Health Forum' started by chip douglas, Feb 4, 2007.

  1. #1
    chip douglas

    chip douglas Junior Member

    In his book : The edge effect, Dr. Eric Braverman says that by building up Serotonin not only will one get better sleep, but also Serotonin will help in replenishing Dopamine and Acetylcholine.

    Marianco, if you catch this post, would you be so kind as to let me know whether I'm correct with the following assumption ?

    Since Dr. Braverman doesn't provide any in-depth explanation of how Serotonin can help in replenishing Dopamine and Acetylcholine (aside from the better sleeping patterns part), I'll attempt from what I've learned from the many postings of Marianco to clear it up.

    First off, Marianco has recently posted and wrote many times in the past about SSRI's being helpful in adrenal fatigue by decreasing percieved stress. Serotonin can decrease the release of Norepinephrine from Norepinephrine neurons, in turn lowering the stress response (CRH>Norepi.>ACTH> Cortisol). Key in achieving success here appears to be in the dose--just the right dose, and the adrenals get proper rest, Norepinephrine output is decreased, and Dopamine gets a chance to replenish. However too high a Serotonin level, and it decreases Dopamine output from Dopamine releasing ( and IIRC production of DA toned down as well) neurons.

    In the above paragraph, I purposefully let Ach out of the picture, to concentrate on the replenishment of DA alone.

    Since I need to know how Serotonin can replenish Dopamine, I've attemtped to provide an explanation for it, through my readings of Marianco's postings.

    Marianco has made clear that dosage is key. This is often something that is not mentioned on various web based information. We often read that Serotonin will kill one's sex drive, but what I think is implied here, is that *excess* serotonin will kill it. Not much is said about low or inadequate serotonin levels though, and the increased perception of stress it brings about.

    To reiterate, what I'd like to know is how Serotonin (presumably in individuals vulnerable to stress) can replenish Dopamine. I think I'm pretty much correct with the above explanation, but I'd like for others to either confirm it, or bring out flaws in my attempted clearing up of it.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. #2

    bullmastiff Junior Member

    If one is taking an ssri how can one know when they are at the right level? What are the signs that one has gone to high?
  3. #3
    chip douglas

    chip douglas Junior Member

    Libido isn't the only gauge, but I'd tend to think that in the case where one suffers from low sex drive due to a high anxiety state linked to serotonin deficiency (or reduced transmission, as I think signal transmission is also of paramount importance), serotonin will decrease percieved stress, which may cause his sex drive to resurface over time. If progressively higher doses of SSRI's is used, then the right dose would be the one at which he regains his full sex drive and orgasmic abilities--further increasing the dose, would in time cause his sex drive to plummet again, but this time not because of increased anxiety, but rather from decreased dopamine output--though too high serotonin levels, IIRC can bring about anxiety etc ; I'm thinking of serotonin syndrome here.

    I probably make it sound much easier than it really is though. In the human body 2+2 rarely equal 4.
  4. #4

    marianco Doctor of Medicine

    The relationship between serotonin and dopamine is complex since other neurotransmitters, hormones and cytokines are involved. Also, it depends on the circuitry in the brain involved. I will discuss only some of the relationships.

    In general - as a predictable effect - Increasing serotonin levels will reduce dopamine production from dopamine-releasing neurons. This relationship is dose related. This may reduce attention (which is helpful in OCD - which can be viewed as a condition of excessive attention on certain subjects). The reduction in dopamine may also reduce libido, reduce motivation, impair memory. As dopamine levels are further reduced, one can get more significant effects such as muscle cramps, tremors, and akathisia (restlessness, agitation, fidgetiness, insomnia, anxiety, wanting to jump out of one's skin, impulsive behaviors, etc.) . The lowered dopamine levels when excessive, may significantly increase norepinephrine production from norepinephrine-releasing neurons. This may then lead to adrenal fatigue.

    Interestingly, as far as I know, there are some dopamine-releasing neurons, however, where serotonin receptors are very close to dopamine-reuptake mechanisms. Serotonin may fit in the dopamine-reuptake mechanism, block it partially, resulting in an increase in dopamine levels locally. What this means is not yet clear - though is speculated to possibly help reduce depression.

    Increasing serotonin levels (as long as it is not excessive), can reduce norepinephrine production from norepinephrine-releasing neurons. This helps reduce stress signals from the brain, allowing the adrenal glands some respite, which allows them to recover from fatigue.

    Reduction in adrenal fatigue, then allows improved cortisol, progesterone, pregnenolone, and DHEA production. These have the effect of reducing norepinephrine production, which allows the return of dopamine production, and improves memory and attention.

    Where Acetylcholine fits in this circuit is not clear right now. Acetylecholine reduction can lead to an increase in dopamine production from dopamine-releasing neurons. Excessive acetylcholine can actually impair memory.

    Since memory is sometimes only associated with acetylcholine - given how people with Alzheimer's disease have a loss of acetylcholine-releasing neurons - perhaps the improvement in memory associated with increasing serotonin levels (as long as it is not excessive), is associated with an increase in acetylcholine.

    However, the actual processes involving memory is much more complex - as shown by the above involvement of adrenal hormones. Memory involves neurons which use complex interplay of multiple chemical messengers including acetylcholine, serotonin, dopamine, estrogens, testosterone, progesterone, pregnenolone, thyroid hormone, DHEA, nitric oxide, etc. as well as various nutrients as cofactors.
  5. #5
    chip douglas

    chip douglas Junior Member

    Thanks Marianco.

    I see that Dr. Braverman was right about serotonin helping in the replenishment of dopamine. At least I guess that the same mechanism you outlined, is what he had in mind when writing the book.

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