has long been known that serotonin plays a role in mood, in anxiety, sleep, and eating behaviors and sexual and regulate the functions neuroendocrine and cognitive body. In the central nervous system plays an important role in the inhibition of anger or impulsivity.
Was also associated with serotonin attitudes in social settings, but their specific relationship to impulsivity had hitherto been a controversial issue. Until a study done at the University of Cambridge showed that there is indeed a causal link between serotonin and impulsivity.
The research results explain, for example, why some people become more aggressive when they have eaten. The amino acid or organic molecule necessary for the body to produce serotonin can only be obtained from food and diet, so that levels of this substance is naturally reduced when we eat. And this mechanism was used by researchers to test their hypotheses.
The researchers reduced brain serotonin levels in healthy volunteers during a short period of time manipulating their diet. Then they used a game known as the “ultimatum game” to observe the reactions of these individuals with low levels of serotonin to unjust actions.
This is an experimental economics game in which two parties interact anonymously and only once. The first player proposes how to divide a certain sum of money with the second. If the latter rejects the offer, nobody gets anything. In contrast, if accepted, the first player gets what he proposed and, second, the rest.
In general, players tend to reject the proposal when bids are less than 20-30% of the total amount of money at stake. Even when this involves rejection left with nothing.
However, serotonin levels lower than normal, the rejection rate of unfair offers by the participants increased to 80%, that they are worried about losing the reward is to accept the offers, trivial they were. In fact, the volunteers showed no change of mood, did not follow a basic process for assessing the reward or showed inhibitory response.
According to neuroscientist Molly Crocket, “these results suggest that serotonin plays a role in decision making in social settings, often impulsive maintaining social responses in check. Changes in diet and stress levels can cause serotonin fluctuate, so it is important to understand how these changes might affect our everyday decisions. ”
But how can we maintain optimal levels of serotonin in our brains? Experts say that eating tryptophan, an amino acid essential in human nutrition that promotes the release of neurotransmitter.
Foods rich in tryptophan include, for example, the chicken or the chocolate, although overall levels of serotonin in the body depend on the levels of sugar in the blood, and they can also increase consumption, for example, flours, which have a high sugar content and, therefore, can replace the sadness, the anguish and joy nervousness, sedation, and happiness.
On the other hand, serotonin levels increase with exercise, outdoors or sugary drinks. With optimal levels to sleep better, serotonin regulates the organism’s internal clock, and also has better memory, because this neurotransmitter helps to concentrate and remember.