Serotonin and Colon Connection

I was just reading that the colon contains 90% of all the serotonin in our body. The brain only has the other 10%. The article indicated that people with IBS, colitis, Chrons, and other bowel disorders have low levels of serotonin in the colon. I find it interesting that a lot of people with bowel disorders have migraine problems. Migraine conditions obviously can be linked to low levels of serotonin. It makes me wonder if one of the keys to curing migraines is to focus on healing the colon. If you increase serotonin levels in the colon, will brain sertonin levels subsequently increase? If the colon is low on serotonin, does it rob the brain of it’s sertonin levels? If the digestive sytem is damaged does it struggle to synthesize important amino acids like tryptophan that are critical in producing serotonin? Is it really all about tyramine and tannins triggering migraines or is it more about the ability of a diseased digestive system to digest those foods is severely lacking. Anyway, I am just wondering if the approach to curing migraines is to healing a different part of the body other than the brain. Sorry for rambling, just food for thought…

Ryan

Ryan,
I have had a lot of the same questions…IVe had some problems in the colon dept. for most of my life. I do take probiotics, which is supposed to help. I know Scott was saying something about how they aren’t really connected, but I’m not sure I understood it exactly…maybe he will rewrite it it here?
Kelley

Hi Ryan,

Migraine is a brain condition which can result in gut symptoms. This is ‘abdominal migraine’. That doesn’t mean the migraine comes from the gut, just that the symptoms manifest there. In the same way that retinal migraine isn’t ‘from’ the eye, it’s just where the symtpoms manifest.

There does seem to be co-morbidity with migraine and IBS, but there is co-morbidity with a number of other conditions. It’s such a broad and confusing spectrum.

A while back there was an ongoing discussion about the gut/brain thing. The original thread got wiped by accident but here is a subsequent one:

http://mvertigo.cloudapp.net/t/gut-brain-therapy-from-the-horses-mouth/1073

Vic

The blood-brain barrier is a bear. Consider how much serotonin I should otherwise have available to my brain, given how much of my time I spend with my head up my . . . aw, never mind

anyone here take probiotics - i hear they help for gas and bloating and irregularity wonder if they would help over all???

chris

— Begin quote from “KooKoo”

Migraine conditions obviously can be linked to low levels of serotonin. It makes me wonder if one of the keys to curing migraines is to focus on healing the colon. If you increase serotonin levels in the colon, will brain sertonin levels subsequently increase? If the colon is low on serotonin, does it rob the brain of it’s sertonin levels?

— End quote

Ryan – there was a discussion on a gut/ brain connection last year about this here. Unfortunately I don’t think the guy promoting it all made much sense and was stuck on ancient wisdom and conjecture with no evidence.

http://mvertigo.cloudapp.net/t/gut-brain-therapy-from-the-horses-mouth/1073

Serotonin in the gut and serotonin in the brain are separate entities and not connected. Serotonin cannot cross the blood-brain barrier and therefore the brain must synthesise it’s own serotonin. Molecules such as 5HTP can cross the barrier which is why you can boost brain serotonin by taking 5HTP. I think IBS somehow manifests from migraine but how I don’t know. It’s another neurological symptom which I do not think is connected to levels of gut serotonin.

Note that a physical problem in the gut could be a migraine trigger. A person with gluten intolerance may find that wheat is a significant trigger for example. Removing wheat might stop the problem. IMO, I think the whole gluten thing has probably been blown way out of proportion. It seems to be the buzz word these days on packaging here in Australia.

Scott