Sanesco Blog

Is Serotonin All There is to Mood? Absolutely Not.


The recent review article about serotonin and mood has caused quite a stir. Sanesco agrees that attributing mood to serotonin alone is inaccurate. It misses the bigger picture. No one biomarker and no single system is responsible for any bodily condition.

Is Serotonin All There is to Mood? Absolutely Not. 1

The NeuroWellness Program™ and Mood

NeuroLab testing is not diagnostic of any disease or medical condition. Sanesco’s NeuroWellness Program identifies functional imbalances within the neuroendocrine system and offers targeted interventions to promote balance for restoration of quality of life including mood, sleep, cognitive function and more.

Is Serotonin All There is to Mood? Absolutely Not. 2

Sanesco’s NeuroWellness Program has demonstrated that chemical balance combined with practitioner-led interventions results in statistically significant improvements in low mood with lethargy and low mood with agitation as well as other mood-related complaints.

The Proof is in the Data

Does the Evidence Hold Up?

In the review article mentioned above, the researchers looked at six categories for evidence that low serotonin correlated with low mood. Categories 1 and 4 are relevant to Sanesco services. Below are our responses to evidence presented by the researchers that low serotonin does not correlate with low mood.


Category 1: Levels of Serotonin or 5-HIAA in Relation to Mood


  • Article: Post-menopausal women with low mood had lower serotonin plasma levels but they were not statistically significant.
  • Sanesco: Serotonin levels were lower, just not low enough for statistical  significance.


  • Article: Pharmaceuticals for serotonin were associated with low serotonin levels regardless of mood.
  • Sanesco: We have regularly observed low serotonin levels in patients taking pharmaceuticals impacting serotonin. These patients usually indicate feeling poorly.


  • Article: 5-HIAA levels do not correlate with low mood.
  • Sanesco: 5-HIAA is a metabolite of serotonin with no action in the nervous system. Additionally, the article fails to recognize that individuals metabolize serotonin at different rates. A high or low level of 5-HIAA does not mean that serotonin mirrors this level or differs. The measurement of 5-HIAA alone as a marker of serotonin levels is incomplete.


Category 4: Tryptophan Depletion as it Relates to Mood


  • Article: Tryptophan depletion methods may not be accurate for assessing the relationship between serotonin and mood as it is unknown if levels of serotonin in the brain are impacted by the methods.
  • Sanesco: The fact they point out that it is unknown if tryptophan depletion methods actually deplete serotonin calls into question why the information was included in the review. Additionally, the study does not cite that levels of tryptophan or serotonin were measured before or after depletion methods were applied.


  • Article: Tryptophan depletion was performed in humans by using an amino acid drink lacking tryptophan.
  • Sanesco: Other amino acids such as tyrosine, phenylalanine, and glutamine play a direct role in increasing the body’s production of other neurotransmitters thought to be involved in improving mood. This may have caused study participants to feel better.


It is the stance of Sanesco that we are glad the researchers are bringing awareness to the issue that mood concerns are not a serotonin only issue. However, their conclusion that there is no connection between lowered serotonin levels and low mood is over-stated.


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Disclaimer: The information provided is only intended to be general educational information to the public. It does not constitute medical advice. If you have specific questions about any medical matter or if you are suffering from any medical condition, you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.

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Inhibitory Neurotransmitter


One of our feel-good neurotransmitters; Low levels of serotonin may relate to occasional symptoms like moodiness, sleep issues, and carb cravings. 

Learn why and how to test serotonin levels