Health & Spirit

Weeding out serotonin disruptors

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

"I ain't left this little room ... tryna concentrate to breathe, cause this piff [weed] so potent, killing serotonin," sings Grammy-winning R&B singer The Weeknd in his song "Initiation." With over 4 million views on YouTube, it seems the mood-enhancing neurotransmitter and all-around gut-loving hormone serotonin has made its way into mainstream pop culture! The Weeknd is probably right; research shows that chemicals in marijuana lower serotonin levels. The repercussions are far more serious than the munchies.

For a new study, Johns Hopkins researchers reviewed brain scans of over 50 people, and found that those with mild cognitive decline had lower levels of serotonin compared with people with healthy brains. Maybe protecting serotonin levels (bye-bye, weed) will help you avoid progression to Alzheimer's disease.

Another lab study found that a lack of neurons that modulate serotonin can lead to a buildup of amyloid plaques in the brain -- one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer's. Decreased respiratory and cardio health (caused by smoking anything) may contribute to decline of healthy neurons.

While scientists untangle the link between Alzheimer's and low serotonin, you want to make sure enough of this chemical is circulating in your brain and gut. Serotonin modulates a whole host of things, from mood and appetite to sleep and sexual function. Boost your supply by:

--Shooting for at least 30 minutes exercise daily (more is better).

--Catching some rays. Exposure to bright light of any kind can boost serotonin levels.

--Eating foods with tryptophan (turkey, nuts, pumpkin seeds and salmon).


Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c) 2017 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2017 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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