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A neurotransmitter (chemical that carries messages between the nerve cells) another being adrenalin.
It's recently attracted considerable interest as it it counteracts depression, anxiety and fear; lifts the spirits, increases libido, induces sleep, improves memory and concentration, suppresses the appetite - so aiding weight reduction.
Serotonin can't be taken as a supplement because it's broken down during digestion. It's derived in the body from the amino acid tryptophan which is abundant in foods such as milk and bananas. Starchy foods such as bread, pasta and potatoes can also help to raise serotonin levels by increasing insulin, which in turn raises tryptophan levels. See 'Amino Acid'; 'Neurotransmitter'; 'Tryptophan'. For more nutritional information, see 'Nutrition A to Z' by Dr. Michael Sharman (Prion Books)