How to Check Your Serotonin Level for Depression

Serotonin is a chemical produced by nerve cells in the brain. Low serotonin levels in the body are linked to instances of depression as well as insomnia. Low levels of serotonin are more common in those who do not consume meat; meat contains an amino acid called tryptophan, which is required to produce serotonin naturally.

Step 1

Ask your physician to order a serotonin test. This test involves obtaining blood samples for testing, therefore you will need a doctor's order before a lab can do the test.

Step 2

Have your blood drawn for the test. No preparation is required for this test. In many lab tests, fasting or other preparations are needed before having the blood drawn. In the case of a serum serotonin level test, no preparations are needed and the blood could be taken at any time.

Step 3

Wait for your physician's office to contact you with results. After the blood is drawn, it may take up to seven business days for results to come back. Your physician's office will contact you to make an appointment to discuss results.

Step 4

Attend your second appointment. According to the National Institutes of Health, a normal serotonin range is 101 to 283 ng/mL. Your physician will discuss your results and decide whether you are low in serotonin and if it is a contributing factor for depression in your case. Medication may be prescribed to correct imbalances.

Things You'll Need

  • Physician appointment

  • Serum serotonin level test

Tip

Higher-than-normal levels may indicate carcinoid syndrome in men.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
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