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Vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids influence brain serotonin levels

by Ion Gireada on 27 February 2015
Health, Lifestyle, Nutrition     |      ADHD,  ASD,  bipolar disorder,  clinical disorder,  Depression,  schizophrenia,  serotonin level

Eating plenty of sea fish and outdoor activities increase the levels of serotonin, the brain chemical with a role in improving the symptoms related to several brain disorders, new research found.

Clinical disorder, including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and depression share the common attribute of a low level of brain serotonin.

“In this paper we explain how serotonin is a critical modulator of executive function, impulse control, sensory gating, and pro-social behaviour,” said Rhonda Patrick from Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI). “We link serotonin production and function to vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, suggesting one way these important micro-nutrients help the brain function and affect the way we behave.”

In a previous study, researchers found that vitamin D regulates the conversion of the essential amino acid tryptophan into serotonin and this may influence the development of autism, particularly in developing children with poor vitamin D status.

Serotonin affects a wide-range of cognitive functions and behaviors including mood, decision-making, social behavior, impulsive behavior, and even plays a role in social decision-making by keeping in check aggressive social responses or impulsive behavior. Vitamin D is mostly produced by the skin when exposed to sun, and those who do not eat enough fish are likely to have marine omega-3 deficiencies.

The study explains that low vitamin D and marine omega-3 deficiencies interact with genetic pathways, such as the serotonin pathway, that are important for brain development, social cognition and decision-making, the researchers added.

Vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids influence brain serotonin levels

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