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The Thermo Diet Podcast Episode 22 - Serotonin's Hidden  Myths

The Thermo Diet Podcast Episode 22 - Serotonin's Hidden Myths

In this episode of The Thermo Diet Podcast Christopher Walker and Jayton Miller sit down and talk about the history behind serotonin, some of the misconceptions that are out there about this neurotransmitter, how you can combat it, and so much  more. Check it out and let us know what you think!

 

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Full Transcript:

Chris:
What's up everyone? Christopher Walker here back again with the Thermo Diet Podcast with my co host, Miracle Morning, Jayton.

Jayton:
How's it going?

Chris:
Pretty good. That was my last second attempt at a nickname. I was looking at Miracle Morning and Jayton at the same time. So. Yeah, today we're going to be discussing a really interesting topic. Serotonin. Serotonin is something that a lot of people believe that you need more of, right? It's called the happy hormone or the happy chemical. And we've seen a lot of marketing in the 90s and 2000s, especially TV ads for pharmaceuticals, for SSRIs. And the history of anti depressant pharmaceuticals is really crazy in terms of the connection over the last 100 years of the development of certain drugs, the banning of other drugs, the interesting coincidences that occurred, all seem to be somewhat related.

Chris:
And we're going to go into the history of this stuff because I think it's an essential part of understanding serotonin as a health thing, a health topic in general. I think the history is always really important when looking at something or challenging a conventional wisdom idea in terms of what conventionally the health community or the medical community or popular media, whatever they're saying, when you start to turn a critical eye to a lot of what they say, it's a bit mind blowing in terms of the backstory. And I think it's important to look at backstories because it helps inform how we got to where we are right now.

Chris:
And then when you layer the backstory on top of, what the actual biochemistry really is, in terms of looking at something like serotonin then it gets really interesting as well. And very enlightening in terms of how you should think about these sort of things. So I don't even know where to start. There's a lot going on with this one. Just look at serotonin itself like what it is.

Jayton:
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter.

Chris:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jayton:
90% of it is produced in the gut. Most of it's actually produced by the Gram-negative bacteria, lipopolysaccharide that I'm aware of. And I've seen direct correlations between endotoxin or LPs and peripheral tissue serotonin which is linked to insulin resistance, diabetes, obesity, anxiety and a lot of those different things.

Chris:
Yeah. It's interesting that you mentioned that with the tissue, peripheral tissue and organs, contain naturally ... Like for example the liver and the lungs, they contain serotonin killing enzymes.

Jayton:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris:
Like certain enzymes that are specifically meant to basically destroy the serotonin before it get and take action on those organs and tissue, which it's something to note in terms of the discussion we're about to have. Because that can be pretty much dysregulated if the glucose metabolism is out of whack, essentially. In order for that enzyme to work for example in the lungs, carbon dioxide has to be present for it to actually take action on destroying the serotonin.

Chris:
So you start to see as this big puzzle, the pieces fit together, you start to see really how important it is to positively reinforce the proper metabolism inside your body, the proper energy metabolism because of certain co factors really, the things that have to be present in certain areas, to actually keep a good balance and proper regulation of certain innate processes that our body needs to do and is designed to do. Because when the feedback loop is out of whack essentially for example, there's not enough co2 present in the lungs to activate the certain enzyme, then the serotonin is naturally going to be created in excess because of the things that brought the body to producing less co2 in the first place also tend to produce more serotonin.

Chris:
So there'll be more serotonin active and present, circulating and therefore as it approaches and gets into the lungs, there's less activation of this serotonin killing enzyme or destroying enzyme, whatever.

Jayton:
Within the circulatory system, co2 is the antagonistic part to serotonin that allows for vasodilation to occur in a lot of cases.

Chris:
Because serotonin's a vasoconstrictor.

Jayton:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris:
That's actually how they first discovered it. I think it was in 1935. Yeah 1935, a Italian scientists found it in the ... He basically took it from the enterochromaffin cells in the stomach line or intestinal lining. And basically those cells are responsible for helping with the constriction of the stomach lining. So serotonin plays an important role in the body. You just don't want too much of it, you need to regulate it. He called it enteramine, because it's a monoamine, so he called it enteramine, 13 years later, some other doctors at a Cleveland Clinic they found a similar thing. I think it was in the lungs or somewhere else. Somewhere important like that.

Chris:
They found this amine also where they were like, "Wow this thing is doing a lot of work on vasoconstriction essentially." And they called it serotonin. It was in the blood serum actually that was where they found it, because that was how they named it. So serum serotonin because it was regulating the tone of the arteries.

Jayton:
Okay.

Chris:
So that's where the etymology comes from, I guess. That's why it's called serotonin. And it took them till even later I think it was in the 50s. Yeah, early 50s I think, before they even realized those were the same molecule ... like the same compounds. And then I guess the name serotonin won. Beat enteramine.

Jayton:
Yeah.

Chris:
Yeah.

Jayton:
Interesting.

Chris:
Yeah, so that's serotonin, that's what it is, like Jayton said, it's produced in the gut for the most part. Most of it is, but that's a misunderstanding, I think in a lot of popular media and conventional wisdom just, most likely due to the antidepressant marketing.

Jayton:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris:
Because the way that they market those drugs is basically, if you've seen these commercials, it's like, "Are you feeling depressed? Your depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in your brain, and you can reverse it by taking more or by increasing more of your happy hormone serotonin."

Jayton:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris:
And so that's the most simplistic I guess view of, exactly what they say in these commercials. So a lot of people think that serotonin is a brain thing only. However, it's way more prevalent in your gut. And that's why actually one of the common side effects of using something like an SSRI is that people have got issues. It makes a lot of sense once you realize how much serotonin is produced in the gut, and then essentially it communicates with your brain. All neurotransmitters are really just, they're messenger chemicals essentially.

Jayton:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris:
Like pretty much every chemical in the body is a messenger in some way. Why don't we get into the backstory?

Jayton:
All right.

Chris:
So, let me think where this starts. I'm a big fan of looking into hidden histories like I mentioned earlier just why do we believe what we believe right now as a culture? And we'll talk about another podcast about some of the other stories, like the mercury and salt story and there's all sorts of interesting stuff. So the origins of conventional popular thought, tend to be quite nuanced and very intriguing when you start unraveling everything. In this case, serotonin actually has its roots in terms of our thinking about it right now, has its roots in the discovery of LSD and psilocybin?

Chris:
Hoffman scientists in Switzerland, he discovered LSD first. And so he was basically working on a project in his lab for his employer with Sandoz Laboratories. And they were looking for a stimulant chemical that would help I believe it was with blood pressure or something. So, he was extracting things from this fungus, and what he did was he made an extraction. I can't remember the exact dates, I think it was late 30s first time he did it. He extracted lysergic acid from this fungus and added a functional group to it, which is basically the D in the LSD. I don't remember why, I think he just got caught up and stuff. He had no idea at this time what LSD was going to do to human experience really, or the brain or whatever.

Chris:
He also didn't take any of it. He wasn't in any way really physically exposed to it at this time. He had other projects come up and for five years never went back to LSD.

Jayton:
I remember reading about this yeah.

Chris:
Yeah. So he, for whatever reason, went back to it five years later and was, "That thing was interesting. Let me look at this chemical again." So he goes through the same process, extracts the lysergic acid from the fungus, he adds the functional group to it and he accidentally gets a bit of it on his fingers. And it absorbed into his fingers. And he writes in his book, "Pretty cool." The whole story in his book in it, it's like, I think his book translated from German ... It's in German, I believe, but it translated it's called LSD. My troublesome child or something like that.

Jayton:
Yeah.

Chris:
So he has this passage in the book where he describes his first experience, after it absorbing to his fingertips. And obviously, that was a pretty small amount, but I mean, for somebody who had never used psychedelics before, I'm sure it was quite the shocking turn of events. And he probably didn't even realize what was happening at the time in terms of the fingertip exposure.

Jayton:
Yeah, I think he said that he wasn't feeling well. So he rode his bike home.

Chris:
No, that was the second time. Wait, no. That was the first full trip that he did.

Jayton:
Okay.

Chris:
Yeah, as far as I know, I might be wrong, but I'm pretty sure. The first time he had to go, he laid down on the couch, because it was just a small dose.

Jayton:
Okay. I could have sworn that he got it on his fingertips, he wasn't feeling well, so he rode home, then laid on the couch.

Chris:
Oh, maybe it was that ... For some reason I was thinking that the first real dose that he did he decided to ride his bike or something, but I might be wrong. You might be right, because he did go home to lay down. So maybe it kicked in when he was riding his bike, right?

Jayton:
Yeah. I can't imagine. Because I remember reading it and he said that the room around him was breathing, and he couldn't tell if it was real or not. He's freaking out.

Chris:
Yeah. And he described ... I can't remember the exact term it was, incredible imagination and you had these vivid descriptions of how he felt with it. He felt good, but a little shocked, as you can imagine. And he saw kaleidoscopes of colors and all this stuff that really, if you've tried LSD, you know exactly what he's talking about. He has this experience and then three days later, he decides to take a full dose. And the rest is history. He's written quite a bit about how he sees it as the sacred compound chemical that allows you to open your mind and your perceptions to other things that you can't normally see that exist.

Chris:
He also happened to be the guy who first extracted psilocybin from magic mushrooms. So this made a big dent, one dude. He was named in 2007 by The Daily Telegraph in the UK of the number one living genius alive at that time so pretty important dude. His work made some ripples as we will discuss. So his employer I'm sure it was stoked about this whole thing like Sandoz Labs were like, "Holy crap. All right let's start selling this stuff." So they actually were using it in Europe for years when it was first released to treat primarily schizophrenia and alcoholism from what I understand.

Chris:
But they were also coupling it with psychotherapy type, Freudian techniques and using it to help people with therapeutic things for psychological issues. And apparently it works very well. And now, there's a lot of current psychedelic research being actually pushed through federal programs, especially for people like PTSD patients and that sort of thing. It's really helping a lot of people with that. But anyway, so they originally started using it for similar purposes, though. Then in the 1950s was when all the craziness started to happen, right? So apparently ... And this was confidential top secret or whatever, when it was happening.

Chris:
But in 1975, Gerald Ford got pretty pissed at the CIA because apparently they were doing some illegal stuff. And he opened an entire investigation into the CIA and illegal activities and one of the elements that got declassified from that whole thing was their activity in the 50s with LSD. So apparently, they bought the entire world supply of LSD from Sandoz Laboratories. And they basically secretly using it in the US for experimenting. And from what I understand, LSD was not the only drug they were using for these things. They're using DMT, psilocybin, cocaine, anything. But they were running these experiments with mostly unknowing patients or subjects of experiments.

Chris:
Yeah, from what I've read, the very few people knew what they were doing and it was all completely covert, which is pretty messed up. But they started off with the intention of figuring out ... They wanted to understand ways of extracting information from interrogations really. Because, I'm assuming I've never interrogated a spy, but it's probably not very easy to get information out of the spy right? When you catch them.

Jayton:
From my understanding they also wanted to use it for mind control to create super soldiers at one point too.

Chris:
Well that's where it went.

Jayton:
Yeah.

Chris:
So yeah. From what I understand it was it started off with interrogation stuff and they're like, "Wow, this is powerful stuff." So they started to do a lot of experiments with different types of people. And it turned into this mind control type of orientation, where they found a quote where they were ... I think it was the chief chemist or something of the CIA at the time, was a very bullish on this stuff, and that their intention was to see if they could wipe someone's mind clean so that they could reprogram it.

Jayton:
Interesting.

Chris:
And they eventually learned that LSD is not the best way to do that, because anyone who's taken LSD or psilocybin knows, it does pretty much the opposite of that. It opens you up, though I could see it leaving people very susceptible to stress essentially because, if it's used in the right way, in a stress free environment, it's very rejuvenative and it opens up the perception of your mind. But I'd imagine in a stressful scenario, especially if you didn't know what was happening, then it could quite have a pretty bad effect.

Chris:
So they were using it on mental hospital patients, they're using it on sex workers. They're using it on military personnel, CIA employees, all sorts of people, including the general public. I heard a lot of stories out there about this now. There's one story about a guy in San Francisco that was unknowingly dosed, ended up really freaking out, held up a whole bar. He was drinking and someone slipped the LSD into his drink at a bar in San Francisco and he was a like a US Marshal, I think, so he had a gun and so he held up this whole bar at gunpoint. And apparently the story was, he didn't realize what was happening until 1999, when he was told he was dosed with LSD through this operation.

Jayton:
Like 40 years later?

Chris:
Yeah, it was wild. Which that would suck. He probably thought he's going crazy. He probably thought he had a mental breakdown or something. But anyway, so they were doing all this shady stuff. And eventually, they apparently abandoned the LSD experimentation. That was apparently 1962 in 1975. Like I mentioned, it all came out that this was happening. So, here's where serotonin plays into this whole thing. Because there's some sequence of events that all happen at the same time in the 50s that are curious. So LSD and psilocybin are anti serotonergic. They're serotonin antagonists essentially.

Chris:
Basically in the 50s, So like I mentioned they discovered in the early 50s like 1951, 52 really that this enteramine and serotonin was this type of chemical, and in 1952 as well, the first the monoamine oxidase inhibitor. The first generation of these drugs hit the market, basically the same year. The year after they really were figuring out what was going on. But they had known what enteramine was and they've been doing monoamine research in that previous 10 years leading up to that.

Chris:
But basically the same time, these monoamine oxidase inhibitors were released and marketed as antidepressants and tranquilizers really. This idea started to form about serotonin and the relationship with depression and there was a whole theory about it, monoamine theory of depression was what it was called. The issue was that by artificially raising these amines in the body, it's not like you have side effects, really. And we can get a bit more into that after we go through the history.

Jayton:
Yeah.

Chris:
Of what happens when you have too much serotonin floating around. But timing wise, it was very curious that these were released at the same time. The LSD experiments apparently ceased in the early 60s. And by that point, certain writers that people they're very well known at this point, like Alan Watts, I mean, everyone watched the Alan Watts videos on YouTube where his British voice he's talking, saying stuff. And then you have Timothy Leary, Aldous Huxley very famous writer. They were on-

Jayton:
There's a lot too.

Chris:
Well now. Yeah. But back then in the 60s, these were the dudes.

Jayton:
Oh, yeah.

Chris:
They were writing about LSD. They were very publicly advocating for the use of LSD in safe environment with someone who's experienced and to help you open up your perception and your mental health really. So, Timothy Leary, and Ram Dass, who Ram Dass, that's not his first name, he changed the name. They were partners at Harvard, and they were doing LSD and psilocybin experiments. And they got very publicly fired in 1963, which also happened to be the year that the patents on LSD expired. Which is also interesting because that's the year right after ... Or it was less than a year after the CIA purportedly stopped doing these experiments.

Chris:
All the time is really interesting. So they get fired from Harvard, and the 60s counterculture movement was already kicking off. As far as I understand. I wasn't alive in the 60s, but that event of them getting fired from Harvard was a big deal. And it poured some fuel on the fire in terms of the counterculture movement in the US, though the hippies and open minded LSD and all that. And keep in mind, LSD wasn't illegal at this time. So, Timothy Leary has crazy life this guy. He became basically the figurehead of that whole movement. And he was arrested 36 times in his life.

Chris:
The dude's a genius like super smart guy, but he was seen as a huge threat from the federal government, because of his influence over this movement. And if you read some of the stories of his arrests are ridiculous, it'd be like marijuana possession or whatever and he would say that they were planting it on him and so forth. He went to jail one time and realized that on his intake examination, the form that he filled out when he got to the prison to where I guess they basically use that to figure out what jobs that the inmate's going to have to do, right?

Chris:
While he was at Harvard, he had written that intake examination, so he knew how to answer it, which is hilarious. So they didn't even realize that they're giving him the test that he actually made.

Jayton:
Yeah.

Chris:
So he apparently answered it in the way that made him a gardener. So he was outside, in the prison yard or whatever. So apparently he's outside and he coordinated some escape plan with a hippie group like an underground hippie cold or something. And he climbed over the fence using a telephone wire, and they picked him up and drove them somewhere. And then he ended up in Algeria, with I guess ... Prominent member of the Black Panthers, who was in Algeria, who then imprisoned him in his house, or something and then ... So it's like this crazy story. And then finally, a bunch of federal agents from the US found him in Algeria apparently, and brought him back and they put him in the maximum security prison.

Chris:
Folsom Prison in California, where his cell was right next to Charles Manson. They even make a movie about this stuff. This is like-

Jayton:
I know.

Chris:
... the freaking thing. So he's next to the Charles Manson, was in prison because of all the crazy shit he did and the Sharon Tate murder and everything. Apparently they had a conversation where, Charles Manson was quoted as telling Timothy Leary that the federal government took them off the streets so that Charles Manson could finish the job for him, and it was just like creepy, because Charles Manson had the complete opposite view of LSD in mind altering drugs like than Leary did. Leary was more advocating for use these safely to improve your mental health and open up your perception.

Chris:
But Charles Manson actually had used them on his Manson Family hippie called Spahn Ranch, he had used the LSD in a way to try to make those for mind control reasons really. He tried to open them up to be way more susceptible to his influence and he would use chanting and different stuff to program their minds, and that was part of his shtick. So they had very different views about LSD. And apparently, Charles Manson was frustrated at Timothy Leary that he wasn't using it for mind control. So anyway, just an interesting story.

Chris:
Also, another tidbit I learned was that John Lennon wrote Come Together, The Beatles' song based on Timothy Leary. Because Timothy Leary tried running for governor in California and John Lennon wrote that as the campaigning song or whatever.

Jayton:
Wow.

Chris:
So wild, this dude needs a movie-

Jayton:
Yeah.

Chris:
... about his life. The counterculture movement was in full swing and Richard Nixon even called Timothy Leary the most dangerous man in America and he publicly declared the war on drugs, established the DEA which before that, I believe was still called the Federal Bureau of Narcotics or it might have been several things, they basically made the DEA at this time. And there's a lot of anti LSD propaganda that started to circulate by the late 60s and it was really similar to the if you're familiar with the reefer madness propaganda that happened in the 30s, before the federal ban of marijuana in '37, which is a freaking crazy story too.

Chris:
Just once you've realize, if you just ask a simple question about why things are the way that they are now, and then look at the history, it's always crazy. But really, they used almost the same tactics that were used back then. And it was focused around LSD makes you insane and homicidal and all that sort of thing. So basically what reefer madness was saying was, "If you smoke weed, you're going to kill people." Or, "Anyone who smokes weed is a murderer." You know? But the reefer madness stuff was definitely more racist than the LSD propaganda from what I understand.

Chris:
Anyway so, all those starts kicking up and bam and I think it was 1968 LSD is made illegal in the US. 1971 the United Nations makes it a schedule 1 controlled narcotic around the whole world. Banned completely. So, knowing all this stuff and the fact that LSD is an anti serotonin agent in the body, at the exact same time as all this is happening and then that gets banned, the monoamine oxidase inhibitors, the second generation antidepressants, all this starts really building steam. And the idea that serotonin can be regulated or can regulate our modulate I guess your experience in the world, in a more controlling sort of sense, I think started to become probably pretty appealing to government agencies.

Chris:
Another interesting piece of timing was in 1950, right before the release of these MAOIs into the market. Also at the same time as the LSD experiments, there was a book released from UC Berkeley, from some sociology researchers, that it was called The Authoritarian Personality and that book described based on Freudian developmental stuff, that there are two personalities, authoritarian and anti authoritarian. And they described the characteristics of those where the authoritarian personality was somebody who was extremely obedient, unquestioning of authority, they were passive aggressive.

Chris:
They were essentially just, you tell them what to do and they respect authority magnanimously, just without question.

Jayton:
Yeah.

Chris:
Really, that's the authoritarian personality. And then the anti authoritarian personality is risk taking, questioning of authority and so forth. You can imagine is the opposite of the first one. Interestingly, though high serotonin levels basically induce the behavior of the authoritarian personality. I don't think this stuff's a coincidence that this was all coming out at that time. And then the research into serotonin was maturing.

Jayton:
Yeah.

Chris:
And the LSD experiments were happening. And then there was a lot of trouble with controlling these population of people in the 60s, who were using LSD, and basically developing the anti authoritarian personality, it was literally called the counterculture movement, to the point where the President of the United States calls the leader of that movement, the most dangerous man in America. There's no way this is a coincidence that this is all known.

Jayton:
Yeah.

Chris:
And happening. High dopamine and low serotonin is biologically indicative of the anti authoritarian personality.

Jayton:
What's interesting is I think a lot of these anti serotonergic drugs actually release enough basically, my theory is that, they get rid of the serotonin within the synapse to allow dopamine to more freely take action. And I feel like that's what actually allows the experience to take place.

Chris:
Well they also bind receptor sites so that serotonin can't. That's another part of it.

Jayton:
Yeah.

Chris:
Because the action of serotonin or any molecule, like neurotransmitters for example, if you looked at it like a presynaptic and postsynaptic cell neuron, the presynaptic one shoots the chemical out into the synapse, right? It can only go in and act on the postsynaptic cell through receptor sites.

Jayton:
Right.

Chris:
So, that's how SSRIs are meant to act, because anything that gets unused or unbound in a normal functioning cellular scenario is re up taken back into the presynaptic cell. So it doesn't hang out in the synapse very long. The SSRIs block the re uptake, so they leave it out there, in the hope that it combines with more receptor sites. So a lot of these anti serotonergic drugs, end up binding to the same receptor sites, so they don't allow the serotonin to bind to it. And that's how they work against it.

Jayton:
They also down regulate the amount of enzymes that break down the serotonin within the synaptic cleft too don't they?

Chris:
No, I'm not sure but, yeah. I don't know.

Jayton:
I think so. The molecule themselves is very similar to serotonin too, isn't it?

Chris:
Yeah, it is, structurally. Which is interesting because they act against it. So anyway, all these things are happening and the government definitely embraced the idea of serotonin increase in drugs in the body. Because ultimately, we were talking about this morning, we can bring it up, it was the idea of learned helplessness is really freaking scary, the power that it has over the human experience, but it makes a lot of sense if you think about the authoritarian and anti authoritarian personalities, that manipulating serotonin in order to induce this sort of, maybe not to the extreme that you see in some studies. But on the spectrum of learned helplessness, to induce that in a population, right?

Jayton:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris:
Because if your whole goal is to control the population, then you need to figure out ways to do that. That's how I see the government looking down out at the world. It's the chief purpose of a lot of people in government and to be able to control the population. It sounds bad, but I mean, I think that's just part of the give and take between a large group of people, a mass and the governing body of that mass. It's called a government governing. They're supposed to control them in some way, right? So what started happening was the SSRIs basically made their move into the market in 1990, I believe.

Chris:
And you started to really see the effects of this learned helplessness due to excess serotonin. So in the first 10 years, the Boston Globe wrote an article in 2000, about in that first 10 years of SSRIs, namely Prozac, 50,000 people that had used Prozac committed suicide. And if you look back a little few years before Prozac was brought to the US by Lily, Lily was trying to get it approved in Germany, for sale in Germany. But the German Food and Drug Administration didn't approve it at that time because they were freaked out by all the trials. The human trials that were submitted were suicide rates and attempts had a five fold increase in the people that were using the Prozac.

Jayton:
Damn.

Chris:
The drug company knew this stuff. Which is so wild about these guys, they know this stuff before they even submit for sale, to be able to distribute these drugs, they're already doing human clinical trials showing suicide rates increasing. I don't understand how someone can sleep at night if they were selling that stuff but anyway, so these drugs started to become really popular and I remember all the ads when I was a kid on TV, about the one I described earlier, that same line, your depression is caused by a chemical imbalance, that's a one term they say, in the brain and you need more of this happy hormone, or happy chemical serotonin.

Chris:
So it's just overly simplified thing that was just pounded on TV all the time you see these things, and there was one where there was an egg going around and there was a rain cloud over the egg. And there's [inaudible 00:37:44].

Jayton:
Yeah.

Chris:
Yeah. There's a lot of these ads that were just all over TV and a lot of times, especially our generation, when you're a kid, you see these ads, you'll go, "Whatever." And, "Oh, it's a little egg. He's going to climb. It's a Saturday. I just want to watch my cartoon. I don't care." But it's going in your head you know these words-

Jayton:
It's pre programmed.

Chris:
Yeah. So a lot of people nowadays because of all these efforts, believe that you need more serotonin. That's really how we got to this point. Sadly it's not true. And a lot of people are still being misled about that whole thing.

Jayton:
Yeah, I think another interesting correlation is how that lines up with the massive push of polyunsaturated fats into the American diet too.

Chris:
Yeah. Who's this evil genius who does this? It's freaking insane?

Jayton:
Yeah.

Chris:
Because the PUFAs and the inflammatory response that's caused by the PUFAs, the fatty acids actually facilitate the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin.

Jayton:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). And it also increases the conversion of prostaglandins or increases prostaglandins synthesis to allow for estrogen to be promoted in the peripheral tissues which is correlated with high cortisol levels and high serotonin peripheral levels too and, it has a direct suppression effect on the thyroid and the low metabolic rate is, it's basically correlated with a decreased experience like you're just numbed out because of that.

Chris:
Yeah and it's a key factor in the learned helplessness scenarios. What do they say? It was, learned helplessness is characterized by and can be induced by serotonin injections. So they will inject these really effed up experiments but they would inject rats or rodents with serotonin, and then do water maze tests. The normal rats without the serotonin, the control rats would swim for hours and hours, they try to survive really.

Jayton:
Yeah, even days at a time.

Chris:
Yeah.

Jayton:
I think.

Chris:
Yeah, they'll do whatever they can to survive, because they're normal. And the serotonin injection rats would give up within minutes and drown themselves. They would just drown.

Jayton:
Because they didn't see any other way.

Chris:
Yeah. Which is really a good demonstration of what learned helplessness is. And when you understand that, in these experimental settings, it makes a lot of sense that suicide rates and the increased risk of suicide in people that are using these SSRIs, it's very logical, you make sense? Because suicide is ultimately the expression of that helplessness that comes with its characteristic of learned helplessness as a term. What researchers think what the serotonin is doing, to cause this sort of hopeless, massively stressed to the point of not being able to control psychological or physical stress, they think it's a large, rapid production of lactic acid.

Chris:
So like in say, a swimming rodent, if it's producing a huge amount of lactic acid, then the stress is just immediate on the system. Like you mentioned, the metabolic rate decreases quite a bit because, when you have a lot of lactic acid present, the metabolic glucose metabolism really can't function right and the metabolic rate slows down and the energy quickly diminishes. People can see this even with just muscular lactic acid. It's a regulation mechanism in the body to stop you from getting into too much stress that your body can't handle. You sprint too fast, too far, you have a ton of lactic acid build up and you can go anymore.

Chris:
You're dying, and then you have to really recover from that. But when it's unnaturally stimulated like this with serotonin, it can be massively stressful on the system, lowers energy production, lowers perceived energy, increases all the stress hormones, like you said. So you can see how quickly someone's behavior could change, due to this sort of thing. And it's also known to induce heart failure, high blood pressure, so on so forth, things that they don't feel good. Kind of the stress feedback loop would increase, you get stressed out. So that's why they think that learned helplessness is so profound in terms of when someone's experiencing it, how stressful it can be.

Chris:
And as you can imagine, your view and perception of the world is massively limited. And your perception of your own control over anything is massively limited, at that point.

Jayton:
Yeah. And whenever you begin to down regulate energy production within the body, then you have less resilience to the stress that's being placed on you. And it's just a downward spiral at that point.

Chris:
Yeah. Serotonin is necessary to sum this up, you need it in your body. It performs a function, important functions, but you need it in a good balance. You don't want to have an excess of it. And due to a lot of things that we talked about on this podcast, a lot of exposures to estrogenics in the environment, as well as poor dietary habits and certain things in the food supplies, everyone serotonin on a population wide level is likely just straight up too high. You need to lower it. So I think basically we need to do our part and just educating people that look, "Re examine this for yourself. You can measure serotonin levels in your body, get it checked out. Lower it if it's too high."

Chris:
Because it's an insidious chemical when it's in excess.

Jayton:
Definitely.

Chris:
Not cool.

Jayton:
So what are some quick ways that people could go ahead and take to down regulate the amount of serotonin in their body?

Chris:
Let's do a couple supplement recommendations and then also maybe some foods right or dietary habits.

Jayton:
Yeah.

Chris:
Supplement wise, theanine has been shown to lower serotonin levels in the body. We have theanine here in our Miracle Morning supplement, so you can try that out. It's also good if you just want to good focus and kick in the morning. Vitamin B3 is niacinamide, which we have in thyroid for a reason. Believe B6 also helps a lot for lowering serotonin, which if you read that book, Nutrient Power, B6 is involved in pretty much every single-

Jayton:
It's insane.

Chris:
... and fully benign. So I would definitely take those. B vitamins are extremely important. A lot of people are very good in them, and those deficiencies typically manifest as some sort of mental disorder in some way.

Jayton:
Yeah. I do know that activated charcoal can be antibacterial, so you can get rid of some of that endotoxin in the gut.

Chris:
Yeah, it's been shown to lower serotonin.

Jayton:
Yeah.

Chris:
Branched-chain amino acids also help.

Jayton:
Yes. That's what I was about to say. Yeah, they can displace tryptophan in lot of cases.

Chris:
Yeah, because if you think about this whole biological environment, really what you're looking at is tryptophan, which is amino acid. You're looking at serotonin, which tryptophan can convert into, and then you're looking at another supplement you should avoid that is melatonin.

Jayton:
5-HTP.

Chris:
And 5-HTP.

Jayton:
Yeah.

Chris:
Supplements to avoid I would say, tryptophan, 5-HTP, melatonin, potentially also something like St John's-wort, which people use for ... I remember that actually got super popular when I was a kid too. People were using it for anxiety and depression, because it rode along the marketing with serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

Jayton:
Interesting. That's used as a nootropic, too.

Chris:
Yeah. But it's been shown to increase serotonin levels. So I would avoid it, to try to lower your serotonin levels. Also just providing a more favorable amino acid balance really in the body from things that aren't muscle meats, because we typically tend to eat a lot of muscle meats in our culturally normal diets, like chicken breasts and ground beef or whatever, which ruminants typically don't have very much tryptophan in them.

Jayton:
They're not nearly as high.

Chris:
Yeah.

Jayton:
Yeah.

Chris:
As poultry. Poultry as higher amount. So I wouldn't eat as much poultry. But also, I've seen that only about 10% of dietary tryptophan actually converted into anything in the body and into serotonin. It's not like a ... Unless you're just only eating chicken all the time, I wouldn't really worried about that.

Jayton:
Interesting tidbit is that like so one of the reasons that turkey makes you tired after you eat it, like after a big Thanksgiving meal is because of the tryptophan content in the turkey, increases serotonin, and it's interesting because, a lot of these animals that go into hibernation, their serotonin levels shoot up, their metabolic rate goes down, and the reason that it goes down is because if it stayed high, they'd burn through all of their energy stores very quickly and starve to death during their hibernated state.

Chris:
Yeah, the hibernation studies are really cool on animal hibernation.

Jayton:
Yeah.

Chris:
As in, tryptophan, serotonin, everything. And like the theories about how stress plays a role in their hibernation, because they stopped being able to find food.

Jayton:
Yeah.

Chris:
That's why they start hoarding food so early, like in the summer, and they'll be hoarding all this food, and their stress starts to increase through the fall in the winter as it gets colder and there's less food available. So the stress hormones are super, super high. And I wonder ... yeah, that's probably a chicken and egg thing. Like how did that even start happening? Maybe it's just certain species almost had to do that cyclically.

Jayton:
Yeah. And I don't know, it's very fascinating because bears will come out of hibernation as full blown type 2 diabetics, and then they just eat a shit load of honey to pull themselves out of that diabetic state and that's the exact opposite of what most people think is going on. So it's interesting.

Chris:
People, they would say, "Sugar is going to cause diabetes." There's no, "They're diabetic. Not from sugar."

Jayton:
Yeah.

Chris:
But because they haven't been eating any sugar. And they've been in a high serotonin state essentially in high stress hormone state.

Jayton:
Yeah.

Chris:
Which has induced this sleep, this coma sleep, that they do. So to get out of it, they have to eat sugar. Very counterintuitive.

Jayton:
Yeah.

Chris:
But well to the average thinker right or conventional thought, but really it does make a lot of sense. In terms of foods I would also say like we mentioned earlier, avoiding PUFA, that's going to convert more tryptophan into serotonin in the body.

Jayton:
I would say any kind of phytoestrogen typically like soy.

Chris:
Yeah.

Jayton:
I would say good endotoxin fighting foods like a good raw carrot every single day.

Chris:
Yeah.

Jayton:
Some raw or cooked bamboo shoots, some well cooked mushrooms, things like that. It's going to be very beneficial.

Chris:
Yeah, for the most part, just sticking straight up to Thermo diet guidelines will help you out.

Jayton:
Yeah.

Chris:
Just eliminate the PUFA. If you're super high in serotonin in terms of fruits, you probably want to avoid eating a lot of bananas and pineapple. That'd be the one thing.

Jayton:
Kiwi as well.

Chris:
So those three if you're really high, if you're not high in serotonin I would really worry about it plus, unless you're doing something crazy like some of these people who eat like 30 bananas a day or whatever they do. I wouldn't do that. That's dumb. But just be cognizant that those three fruits tend to elicit a serotonergic reaction in high quantities. Eating a banana is not going to do anything to you. But if you're already super sensitive to having high serotonin and you are working to lower it, you don't need to eat those fruit.

Chris:
You choose other ones. Yeah, and then I would also focus on things like bone broth, getting collagen, getting a more favorable amino acid profile because that'll help balance out stuff. Collagen has basically no tryptophan in it. It's very high in protective amino acids that are going to help to positively influence your protective hormones in the body and recovery to get sleep, all that sort of thing.

Jayton:
Yeah, I would say if you're under 25, I wouldn't go over a third of your protein intake coming solely from collagen and gelatin though because you do need that complete amino acid profile in order to allow for tissue creation and things like that whenever you're still young.

Chris:
So still eat food.

Jayton:
Yeah.

Chris:
But, get some grass fed beef or something.

Jayton:
Yeah, definitely.

Chris:
But yeah, so hopefully this was an interesting episode. I thought it was really interesting story in terms of digging through the history of all these shenanigans. But yeah, hopefully we gave you guys some helpful stuff to think about. If you're feeling some of the symptoms of high serotonin then definitely recommend checking out what your levels are, and actively working. You could just do simple things like take a few of these supplements we mentioned, change your diet to be just Thermo and you'll basically get rid of a lot of these issues on your own. Kind of like the dude in the story of the Essential Fatty Acids hypothesis lab, George Burr's lab is a research assistant.

Chris:
They were trying to prove that you needed these PUFAs to survive. And then they somehow perpetuated the myth that you do, even though the other results are the opposite. So they were feeding animals, a completely PUFA deficient diet, no PUFA at all. And the animals were respirating crazy like high metabolism. Very healthy. What they thought that the respiration was a bad thing, the researchers did. Anyway, the research assistant in the lab did it on himself for six months, and got rid of his migraines, lowered his blood pressure, lost a ton of weight, increased his metabolic rate by over 15%, felt great.

Chris:
The migraine thing is cool, a good insight because, migraines are caused by certain energetic activity because the serotonin excess constricts the blood flow to the brain from the spinal cord, so blood is not flowing in or out or it's in the lower rate and it starts to swell on the surface of the brain which it's a pressure issue, which causes a migraine or a cluster headache. He got rid of that just by not eating PUFA. So if you just think about the simple high leverage things that you can do, I mean, just eating Thermo, Thermo is designed to help all this stuff.

Jayton:
Yeah, definitely. That reminds me of another really big thing is making sure that you're getting enough light because, darkness actually promotes serotonin synthesis, melatonin synthesis, cortisol production and things like that. So making sure that you get plenty of sunlight, plenty of red light, things like that.

Chris:
Yep. So hope you liked this. If you liked this podcast, leave us a good review on wherever you're listening to it. Share it with your friends, share it with somebody who needs to know this information. And we will see you on the next show.

Jayton:
Have a good one.

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