New Study Finds Link Between Decreased Serotonin Levels and Long COVID Symptoms
A recent study conducted by researchers from a leading medical institution suggests that decreased levels of serotonin in the body may contribute to the development of long COVID symptoms. The study, which analyzed questionnaire surveys and medical chart reviews of 1,540 long COVID patients, found that traces of the virus remain in the gastrointestinal tract, where serotonin is produced, and the virus reduces levels of the essential chemical.
The research team discovered that low levels of serotonin may lead to common long COVID symptoms, such as cognitive difficulties and memory problems. Long COVID patients who participated in the study reported a range of symptoms, including fatigue, cognitive difficulties, headaches, anxiety, loss of endurance, problems with sleep, and memory loss.
Blood samples from long COVID patients revealed significant differences in chemical levels compared to fully recovered COVID patients and those with active infections, with serotonin levels being particularly affected. Serotonin, also known as the “feel-good” neurotransmitter, regulates mood and plays a role in various bodily functions, including digestion, sleep, bone health, wound healing, blood clotting, and sexual desire.
The presence of leftover bits of the virus in the gastrointestinal tract may cause inflammation and hinder the body’s ability to absorb tryptophan, a necessary component for serotonin production. As a result, individuals with long COVID may experience lower serotonin levels, leading to a range of symptoms.
Additionally, the study found that serotonin levels were predictive of whether a patient fully recovered or developed long-term complications after a COVID infection. Furthermore, long COVID patients were found to have higher levels of enzymes that can break down serotonin, further reducing the levels of this essential neurotransmitter.
While the study provides valuable insights into the potential link between low serotonin levels and long COVID, further research is needed to confirm this causal relationship. Scientists are actively pursuing ongoing studies to better understand the underlying causes of long COVID.
Recognizing the significance of long COVID, the Biden administration has formed an Office of Long COVID Research and Practice. This new office aims to conduct comprehensive research into the condition and provide support and resources to individuals diagnosed with long COVID.
In conclusion, this groundbreaking study sheds light on the potential role of serotonin in long COVID. Understanding the link between decreased serotonin levels and the development of long COVID symptoms could offer new avenues for treatment and management of this debilitating condition. As the research continues, scientists and medical professionals hope to unlock the mysteries surrounding long COVID, providing hope for millions of individuals worldwide who continue to experience the lingering effects of the virus.