Let’s start with the basics:
Serotonin is a natural chemical created in the body that acts a neurotransmitter.
That’s a chemical messenger that travels across brain cells and plays an essential role in our everyday life.
The chemical messenger in this instance is Serotonin (some other well known neurotransmitters are dopamine and oxytocin).
So, what is serotonin and what does it do?
Serotonin is mostly associated with controlling our mood and keeping anxiety away. But serotonin can also be found in various parts of the body so it is commonly believed that it is involved in a range of functions.
”Of the approximately 40 million brain cells, most are influenced either directly or indirectly by serotonin. This includes brain cells related to mood, sexual desire and function, appetite, sleep, memory and learning, temperature regulation, and some social behavior.” 1
Serotonin is produced in the brain and also in the intestines. In fact, 80-90% of the serotonin found in our bodies is found outside of the brain and it cannot pass the blood-brain barrier. That means that serotonin used in brain functions must also be made in the brain.
Along with regulating our mood it’s been suggested that serotonin could affect our social lives positively.
”Higher levels of serotonin may help to promote more constructive social interactions” 2
And a very recent study has potentially found a link between serotonin levels and how patient we are!
It seems that serotonin is involved in so many functions and scientists are always exploring more connections, I guess that’s why it’s one of the most commonly known molecules and jewelry (like the pendant above) have become such popular symbols for many of us.
So has that got you itching to increase your serotonin levels? I’ll be posting a new blog shortly about how you might be able to do just that!
Want to read more like this? Explore more Science and Emotions on the blog.
Become a VIP and get bite-sized goodies like this one and first dibs on new molecule jewelry designs twice a month!
GoogleConnect me on Google+
1 Colette Bouchez, ‘’Serotonin: 9 Questions and Answers’’, accessed 15 Jan 2015, http://www.webmd.com/depression/features/serotonin
2 Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, ‘’ The role of serotonin in human mood and social interaction. Insight from altered tryptophan levels.‘’ April 2002, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11888576
H.Y Meltzer and J. F Nash Jr. ‘’Serotonin and Mood: Neuroendocrine Aspects’’accessed 15 Jan 2015, http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-642-72738-2_7#page-1
Dr Ananya Mandal, MD, ‘’Serotonin Function’’, http://www.news-medical.net/health/Serotonin-Function.aspx
McIntosh, James. “What is serotonin? What does serotonin do? accessed 15 Jan 2015,” Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 1 Sep. 2014. Web. 16 Jan. 2015. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/232248.php
Maria João Soares Press Release: ”Good Things Come to Those Who Wait?” 15th Jan 2015 http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-01/js-gtc011215.php
Oxytocin for Bonds and Love!
This wonderful molecule is the bond in all your relationships. It has been described as hormonal superglue and influences us through touch.
When the buzz of a new relationship fades it is oxytocin that remains and keeps the bond which strengthens over time. Oxytocin is deeply involved in parent-child bonds, it is this hormone which stimulates the production of milk in a nursing mother and induces parenting behaviors.
It makes your skin more sensitive to touch and it spikes at orgasm, making couples (women especially) committed to each other. It bonds us to friends, children, lovers and family.
A simple hand-hold can produce that warm fuzzy feeling, or even petting your dog. What a nice molecule.
I love this very sweet description which illustrates this post well;
“I know one reason kissing was created. It makes you feel warm all over, and they didn’t always have electric heat or fireplaces or even stoves in their houses.”
Gina, age 8 (The Things Kids Said)
Take a look at some oxytocin inspired jewellery here! It’s as beautiful as the hormone itself and it has a special meaning.
[shareaholic app=”recommendations” id=”6481564″]
Love Junkie Earrings are inspired by the molecule phenethylamine which is the hormone that I would describe as that ‘new love’ kind of feeling. You can read more about it here, and below see the earrings from my Chain Reactions Collection.
Snowflakes are such an iconic image for the wintertime, unsurprisingly, because they are so beautifully formed and delicate and really are one of the many wonders of nature. But how are they formed? Are they really so symmetrical and intricate?
Well it seems so! I’m going to describe to you how a snowflake forms in simple terms (because let’s not forget I’m a jeweller with a love for science and not the other way round).
Each snowflake starts as a tiny droplet in a cloud which freezes as the temperature drops. This miniature drop of ice is surrounded by water vapour inside the cloud and this vapour starts to condense and freeze on the droplet’s surface in a hexagonal pattern. As it grows it starts to sprout branches from each of the sides.
Then as the temperature inside the cloud changes and the newly forming snowflake is whisked around, the growth of the branches speeds up and slows down – depending on the temperature it is exposed to. This is what forms the patterns in the branches, the branches match because each branch was exposed to the same conditions at the same time.
So the snowflake is a beautiful symmetrical formed inside a cloud and the unique conditions it was exposed to. Pretty amazing!
If you enjoyed this post about snowflakes then why not subscribe to my newsletter. Get interesting bitesized emails that will make you smile.
Engrossed in Romantic Love?
Imagine how you feel when you first fall for someone. Easily distracted? Singing or humming to yourself? Daydreaming and smiling so much that you get funny looks on the bus!? Well that’s probably PEA at work giving you that amazing natural high.
Of course, when you are in love the brain is swimming in chemicals and there are other guys we can thank for our feelings too, dopamine and serotonin are highly present, testosterone also brings lust and even adrenaline helps with that ‘butterflies in your stomach’ feeling. Oxytocin is what develops to create lasting bonds. But I think PEA gets overlooked and it has a role to play too. And a there’s a very noteworthy buzz to be had from it.
What is Phenylethylamine?
PEA is phenylethylamine; a neurotransmitter which controls some of your feelings associated with love and lust. The feeling you get from PEA is what I would describe as intoxication, it’s often highly present in the bloodstream of new lovers and really influences your feelings towards that special person that you can’t get out of your brain.
It has been described as the “molecule of love” because when it is in action in your brain you will feel euphoric, you feel like you are floating on air.
Not in love? Not to worry, did you know that chocolate also contains PEA? Although it is disputed whether or not eating chocolate will boost PEA in the brain, something tells me there are many of us out there who would testify to the buzz it brings us!
If you enjoyed this post about romantic love and PEA then why not subscribe to my newsletter? Get interesting bite-sized emails that will make you smile.
* indicates required
…and a great reward.
When you are looking forward to something, dreaming of it and working to make it happen, the sweet taste of anticipation, it’s dopamine that is at work.
Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that creates desire and passion. It is the link between thinking you want something – and actually moving and getting what you want.
In short, it is the pursuit of any pleasure.
It heightens your experiences and builds your desire to have them again, without dopamine you would feel joyless and unenthusiastic.
For many of the reasons above it plays an important part in the chemical cocktail of love, it is often associated with addiction and could quite probably be responsible for what addicts us to each other.
When you’re pursuing your dreams it’s the dopamine flowing, and it is the reward when you achieve them. I think it’s my favorite molecule, and thanks to it’s marvelous effect I would guess you are probably a fan too – even if you didn’t know it!
If you enjoyed this post about dopamine then why not subscribe to my newsletter. Get interesting bite sized emails that will make you smile.
Share this article if you enjoyed it: [shareaholic app=”share_buttons” id=”6481556″]
Let’s connect on Google +
This great talk by Helen Fisher quenched my thirst for information about hormones for a short while. She speaks of romantic love, the chemistry involved and the power of its addiction.
“Why do we crave love so much, even to the point that we would die for it? To learn more about our very real, very physical need for romantic love, Helen Fisher and her research team took MRIs of people in love — and people who had just been dumped.”
If you enjoyed this post then why not subscribe to my newsletter. Get interesting bitesized emails that will make you smile.
In the beginning
After stumbling across an article about emotions some time ago I have become intrigued with the biology of our emotions. I have to confess I’m no scientist, in fact far from it, I’m a jeweler with a slight obsession. But I hope that doesn’t mean I can’t create jewelery with meaning, with more than just beauty. So with each piece I create I also learn and satisfy my current obsession a little more. It all started with the hormone serotonin …
So this one is quite a commonly known hormone, mostly associated with maintaining levels of happiness, keeping anxiety at bay and aiding restful sleep. I think that’s pretty important to most of us! With this in mind I designed my first piece of jewelery inspired by the molecular structure of serotonin. I decided the first piece had to be a chain since the delivery of the chemical in your body is a chain / chemical reaction.
And here it is, the finished piece. It certainly made me happy anyway. More molecular structure inspired jewelery to be made, more research to be done…..phenethylamine you’re next!