Naast chocolade lijken ook andere koolhydraatrijke snacks en maaltijden depressieve stemmingen te verbeteren. Het mechanisme dat verondersteld wordt aan de grondslag te liggen van dergelijke effecten is de toename van de serotoninesynthese en het vervolgens vrijkomen van serotonine in de hersenen (6).

Serotonine is een van de belangrijkste neurotransmitters in de hersenen die betrokken zijn bij emotie en gedrag. Het staat ook bekend als het "happy" hormoon. Onderzoek heeft aangetoond dat de serotoninespiegels in de hersenen bij depressieve personen verlaagd zijn (7). Bij aandoeningen zoals het premenstrueel syndroom (PMS), seizoensgebonden stemmingsstoornissen (seasonal affective disorder) en chronische stress zou er eveneens sprake zijn van een verminderde serotoninefunctie. Het toedienen van stoffen die de heropname van serotonine in de zenuwcel blokkeren en daardoor zorgen voor een verhoogde hoeveelheid serotonine in de synaptische spleet, blijkt in veel gevallen depressieve aandoeningen te verminderen.

Serotonine wordt gevormd uit tryptofaan, een essentieel aminozuur dat niet in het lichaam kan worden aangemaakt en dus met de voeding moet worden ingenomen . Een logische gedachtengang is dan ook dat een verhoogde inname van tryptofaan met de voeding de serotoninespiegels in de hersenen zou kunnen doen toenemen en daarmee ook de stemming zou kunnen verbeteren. Bij depressieve en stressgevoelige mensen werd dit gunstige effect inderdaad waargenomen (8). Bij gezonde mensen werden daarentegen inconsistente, tegengestelde en/of zwakke effecten gezien, variërend van een toename van slaperigheid en loomheid tot een verbetering van gevoelens van spanning en vermoeidheid. Een aantal

onderzoeken vond helemaal geen effecten.

SER (serotonine) is involved in the regulation of a number of important functions in humans, including sleeping, hunger, thirst, mood and sexual activity.60 Some of the foods (banana, pineapple, plum, nuts and milk) rich in SER and tryptophan may elevate mood by raising brain SER levels.61 SER, was reported in coffee, its presence in seeds and leaf wax29 and also in polished coffee called Astra, contain 20–40 mg SER/100 g and marketed as “low irritant” coffee in Germany and Switzerland.62 Due to the presence of SER in roasted coffee and in brew, it has physiological action in humans.63 SER was the amine most resistant to the effects of roasting and it was observed for some samples in higher amount after roast than in the green beans. The predominant amines that are reported in green coffee are SER and putrescine, followed by spermidine and spermine.63 Sweet cherries contain substantial amount of SER, and may have a great number of health benefits if incorporated in a healthy diet.25 Moreover, SER was also found in grape and wine which supports the health benefits due to their bioactive chemical diversity.64 Many plant species that are neurologically active in humans have been found to contain SER as well as other neurotransmitters. Such data indicates that SER in our diets and plant based medicines can affect the human health and may have an impact on several chronic diseases.60,68 FS and CS have been isolated from safflower seeds and possess antioxidant, anti-inflamatory activities,59 anti-tumor,65 anti-bacterial66 and anti-stress potential and also involved in reducing depression and anxiety.67

SER was administered to boost its levels in human brain in treating SER deficiency syndrome.68 Some of the extensive uses of SER include treating patients suffering from the parkinson-like symptoms68 and controlling obesity.69 SER action of hallucinogenic drugs is known from the early 1950s to the present day. There is now converging evidence from biochemical, electro- physiological and behavioral studies reported that the two major classes of psychedelic hallucinogens, (e.g., LSD) and the phenethylamines (e.g., mescaline) have a common site of action as partial agonists at 5-HT2A and other 5-HT2 receptors in the central nervous system.70


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