What is serotonin and why is it important?

What exactly is serotonin and how do you get more into your body?

Serotonin, or 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), is a chemical which is primarily found in the brain and plays a role in our emotions, appetite, and several motor and cognitive functions. Its role is mostly as a neurotransmitter, sending messages between various parts of the body.

Most relevant, though, is serotonin’s nickname: the happy chemical. That’s because higher serotonin levels have been linked to a more positive mood (and lower levels to depression). In addition, serotonin also helps regulate our sleep cycle, working as a precursor to melatonin.

If your diet lacks vital B vitamins and amino acids, you’re far more likely to have a serotonin deficiency, which can then affect both your mood and energy levels as a whole.

So, what do you do? Well, first, adjust your diet to consume more of those basic nutrients. However, there are several more all-natural ways of boosting serotonin, making it pretty easy to balance out a potential serotonin deficiency. Keep in mind you should always check with your doctor before taking any supplement — even if it’s just a natural one.

Ways to increase serotonin naturally

1. Herbal supplements

St. John’s Wort, as cringe-worthy as the name is, is an incredibly powerful herb that is often used for treating depression.

However, it’s also been shown to be a natural selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (or SSRI), which helps maintain serotonin in the brain.

Plus, St. John’s Wort is offered in supplement form, so it’s easy to consume and goes perfectly with the rest of the points on this list which are more about increasing serotonin production (while this maintains it).

 St. John’s Wort – $12.82 on Amazon.com 

2. Get more inositol

Inositol, a carbocyclic sugar found in human and other mammal tissue, has been shown in several studies to improve serotonin activity in the brain. In addition, it’s been shown to help improve the symptoms of anxiety and depression.

It’s found naturally in many foods, particularly fresh fruits and vegetables, so by improving your diet in this way you can further boost your serotonin levels. However, it’s also conveniently offered as a natural supplement that you can easily throw into a veggie or meal replacement smoothie.

 Inositol powder – $15.49 on Amazon.com 

3. Exercise

Physical exercise has been shown in several studies to be one of the best ways to boost serotonin production. Specifically, aerobic exercises such as running, biking, and even yoga are best.

However, keep in mind that you need to select an activity you enjoy. It can’t feel forced, but has to be intentional and relaxed.

This might sound like an unimportant side note, however, it turns out that our mental approach to the exercise has a real neurochemical response, likely attributed to the programming we picked up from our ancestors who were either hunting or being hunted, two very different “modes” of response.

4. Improve gut health

Believe it or not, your gut is actually where most of the serotonin in your body is produced. For that reason, improving your gut health can have a big impact on serotonin production.

How do you do that? Get lots of water; eat brain-healthy foods such as walnuts, dark chocolate, and wild fish; and start consuming more probiotics in supplement form and in foods such as yogurt.

5. Get more sunlight

Vitamin D is a critically important vitamin for the body. One of its functions? Promoting serotonin production.

And one of– if not the– single best ways to get more vitamin D? Good ol’ sunlight. Yes, the case can be made that this whole deficiency started because you weren’t getting outside enough. Moving on.

A good alternative to this is to drink milk as it typically has vitamin D added (apparently, in the U.S., because the government thought people weren’t getting outside enough).

Other sources of vitamin D (if you really can’t bother to get more sunlight…) are fatty fish, cheese, and eggs.

Climate Change Myths (video)

John Stossel is just so great at debunking myths.

This past week, he took on the myths surrounding climate change in a terrific video.

Stossel invited climate change activists to a debate at the Heartland Institute.

Small problem? They didn’t show up. As Stossel notes, climate change folks like Al Gore never show up to his invitations.

Scientists did show up to debunk some of the common myths being pushed by folks like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and other extremists.

Stossel noted how over the years he’d covered so many scares that had turned out not to be what people claimed, that in fact, we’re living longer than ever.

Yet the alarmists like Greta Thunberg say “entire ecosystems are collapsing” and we are on the brink of “mass extinction.” Politicians like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and former Vice President Joe Biden proclaim, “We have 12 years years left.”

The scientists took on that myth. “Please, let’s have a discussion!” begged astrophysicist Willie Soon.

Pat Michaels, former president of the American Association of State Climatologists, dissected the 12 year/extinction claim. “It’s warmed up around one degree Celsius since 1900, and life expectancy doubled, yet that temperature ticks up another half a degree and the entire system crashes? That’s the most absurd belief.”

And what happens when in all likelihood we’re all still here in pretty much the same condition in 12 years?

Climatology Professor David Legates predicted, “In twelve years it’ll be 12 more years.”

Exactly. How long has this been going on? Since at least the 1970s when folks pushed the spurious claim we might be entering a new ice age.

Willie Soon said it was all about emotional handwaving.

But, as the scientists explained, we adapt and address conditions. That’s the human way.

Stossel asked the scientists, “You acknowledge though the water is rising?”

Legates agreed. “Yes, the water has been rising for approximately 20,000 years.” Alrighty, now.

The scientists also debunked “global warming is making storms worse” and that carbon dioxide is only a harm both of which they pointed out are wrong.

Another myth? Government can somehow save us.

“The Obama’s administration’s model projects that the amount of global warming that would be saved going to zero emissions tomorrow … would be 14 hundredths of a degree Celsius,” according to Michaels.

An insignificant difference for global warning. But a killer for the country. “You’ll sure have an impoverished dark country,” he said.

But, as Stossel observes, the other side doesn’t want to debate, they just want to impose their will, without question.

So why are politicians so eager to push all this on us? One word: control.


Yesterday the Supreme Court released the calendar for the February argument session, which begins on February 24, 2020, and runs through the first week in March. Amy Howe covers the announcement for this blog, in a post that first appeared at Howe on the Court. She reports that “[t]he highest-profile cases of the sitting will come at the end of the session: On March 3, the justices will hear argument in the challenge to the leadership structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, followed by argument on March 4 in the dispute over the constitutionality of a Louisiana law that requires doctors who perform abortions to have the right to admit patients at a nearby hospital.”

For The Washington Post (subscription required), Robert Barnes and Ann Marimow report that “[t]he legal cases concerning President Trump, his finances and his separation-of-powers disputes with Congress are moving like a brush fire to the Supreme Court, and together provide both potential and challenge for the Roberts court in its aspiration to be seen as nonpartisan.” Nina Totenberg discusses the cases at NPR (audio and transcript). At Balkinization, Marty Lederman addresses “the importance of the … cases[,] the weakness of Trump’s constitutional arguments … and … what the Court is likely to do with those two cases.”

For the ABA Journal, Erwin Chemerinsky previews New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. City of New York, New York, a challenge to New York City’s limits on transporting personal firearms. At Education Week’s School Law Blog, Mark Walsh writes that “[a]dvocacy groups that emerged from mass school shootings in recent years are seizing an opportunity to urge the U.S. Supreme Court not to broaden the Second Amendment right to bear arms” by filing amicus briefs in the case.


  • For The New York Times, Jesse Barron tells the story of “[h]ow a hedge fund’s efforts to take [Puerto Rico] to the cleaners wound up before the Supreme Court,” in Financial Oversight Board for Puerto Rico v. Aurelius Investment, LLC, “with ordinary Puerto Ricans arguing in the hedge fund’s favor.”
  • At The National Law Review, William Thieme previews Seila Law v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a constitutional challenge to the structure of the CFPB, and interviews an experienced federal agency litigator about the case’s potential “impact on the future of the CFPB.”
  • In an op-ed for The New York Times, Aaron Tang argues that “[i]n several major cases this term, conservatives are relying on arguments that both they and the court have explicitly rejected as a matter of principle over the last five decades,” warning that “[i]f the court accepts these hypocritical arguments now, it does so at its own peril.”
  • The editorial board of The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) observes that “[t]he Supreme Court didn’t issue a landmark decision Monday, but it did shoot off a couple of flares[:] Notably, the Court rebuked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for again flouting its precedents while Justice Brett Kavanaugh put a stake down on the Constitution’s non-delegation doctrine.”
  • At Reason’s Volokh Conspiracy blog (via How Appealing), Orin Kerr pushes back against the argument that the traffic “the stop in Kansas v. Glover is problematic less because there isn’t enough suspicion but because the suspicion is not sufficiently individualized.” [Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel to the respondent in this case.]
  • At Empirical SCOTUS, Adam Feldman analyzes “news coverage of the justices since Roberts took over as Chief Justice in 2005.”


He was dead within weeks.

The 63-year-old man showed up in the hospital with a burning sensation in his left leg and muscle pain in both. His flu-like symptoms were severe, with labored breathing for three days. He had petechiae, or rounds spots on the skin that look like rashes as a result of bleeding capillaries, which made his legs look discolored.

The patient’s heartbeat was stable, doctors said, even though he was running a temperature of 102. His belabored breathing caused an inadequate supply of oxygen to his tissue. His failing kidneys were not producing urine, researchers wrote.

But doctors had no idea what was wrong with him. He had not recently been in the hospital. They suspected some kind of bacteria, but he didn’t have any open wounds and he didn’t have meningitis.

It wasn’t until his fourth day in the hospital that a blood test revealed that the man had a type of bacteria found in the saliva of healthy dogs and cats. It’s a kind of bacteria that’s usually only transmitted to humans if they are bitten.

But the German man is dead because his dog licked him.

A paper published in the European Journal of Case Reports in Internal Medicine details how an otherwise healthy man lost his life within weeks of being infected by bacteria found in his dog’s saliva.

Doctors at the hospital determined that he had multiple, serious ailments: severe kidney injury, signs of live dysfunction and rhabdomyolysis, a deterioration of muscle tissue that can result in kidney failure. He also had a build up of lactic acid in his bloodstream.

Once he was transferred to an intensive care unit, he was diagnosed as having severe sepsis with skin death and blood clotting, or purpura fulminans, according to doctors.

He was treated with antibiotics, but his health took a rapid decline for the worst over the next 30 hours, according to the paper.

Brain disease, intestinal blockage caused by paralysis, blood clotting and kidney failure wrecked his body, doctors wrote. The man entered cardiac arrest and was successfully resuscitated, according to the paper, but he was then intubated and placed on a breathing machine.

Low blood pressure became an issue, so doctors treated him for that.

Medical staff gave him red blood cells, transfused platelets and provided with fresh, frozen plasma, according to the paper. To help his kidney failure, they started kidney dialysis.

After they ran the test that finally showed the C. canimorsus infection, doctors added another antibiotic and an anti-fungal treatment to the patient’s medical routine as some of his afflictions waned and others worsened. The treatment was too late.

Towards the end of his life, all of his extremities had gangrene and a CT scan showed that he had severe brain swelling with a lack of oxygen, according to the paper.

The man’s relatives made a mutual decision to reduce his treatment. He died after 16 days of care, according to doctors.

Researchers noted that C. canimorsus infections are rare with a range of symptoms. Most patients who have had severe or fatal infections from the bacteria have had immune, spleen or alcohol abuse issues, they wrote. But the patient’s medical history didn’t indicate any such ailments.

Researchers warn dog and cat owners who experience flu-like symptoms to quick find medical care when their symptoms surpass what’s normal of a vial infection.

Approximately 25 percent of people with C. canimorsus will die, according to the paper. That number, the asserted, is complicated based on multiple factors.


As the California Department of Motor Vehicles stumbles along with a deficit, its inability to stay in compliance with the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, and numerous computer technicalities, is now under attack for selling personal information.

An investigation by Vice discovered that the California Department of Motor Vehicles has been making millions by selling the personal information of drivers. The DMV is earning more than $50-million a year by selling drivers’ personal information according to a report by Vice media’s tech bureau, who obtained a DMV document in a public records request.

In the public records act request, Vice found that the California DMV confirmed that information requesters include insurance companies, vehicle manufacturers, and prospective employers.

Specifically, the information being provided without consent by the driver or the knowledge of the driver are:

    •    Names

    •    Physical address

    •    Vehicle registration

    •    Zipcode

    •    Date of birth

The information sold to private companies is information required by drivers to provide to the state for a license. The public report does include the specific names of companies, but the businesses could consist of insurance, vehicle manufacturers, and possible employers.

LexisNexis and Experian were guilty of buying data in prior investigations, according to Fox News.

The DMV does not deny the sale of personal information. Marty Greenstein, a public information officer at the California DMV, reported, “The information sold furthers objectives related to high way and public safety, risk assessment, vehicle safety recalls, emission research, and background checks for employment.

However, nor were they aware the state was selling their information to private companies for a profit.

Congress passed in 1994, a law called the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (DPPA). Under 18 USC 2725 and 18 USC 2721, the code outlines the exceptions a DMV can legally share private information.

H.R. 3365 was introduced by Democratic Rep. Jim Moran of Virginia in 1992, after an increase in opponents of abortion rights using public driving license databases to track down and harass abortion providers and patients.

Actress Rebecca Schaeffer

Actress Rebecca Schaeffer was also a victim of personal information released by DMV. Schaeffer was killed in 1989 by a stalker, Robert John Bardo, who contracted a private investigator to find her address. Bardo used DMV records to find her address and his brother helped get him a handgun because he was only 19 years old. Bardo was sentenced to life in prison. Schaeffer’s murder  led to the passing in 1990, the nations first anti-stalking laws.

The DPPA was supposed to to restrict DMV data but there are some exemptions that include private investigators.

Notably, “Multiple other DMVs around the U.S. previously confirmed to Motherboardthat they have cut-off data access for some commercial requesters after they abused the data,” Vice reported.



Security Or Physical Checkup or?

When does a random security check turn into something a bit more complicated? We’re guessing that this man was just a wee bit uncomfortable with the security agent’s proximity to his nether regions but hey–a job is a job and someone’s gotta do it. The things we have to put up with for the sake of safe flying…


Yesterday evening the Supreme Court temporarily blocked a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that upheld a subpoena for Trump’s financial records. This blog‘s coverage, which first appeared at Howe on the Court, comes from Amy Howe. Adam Liptak reports for The New York Times that “[t]he court’s stay was in one sense routine, maintaining the status quo while the court decides whether to hear Mr. Trump’s appeal in the case[, b]ut it also suggested, given that it takes five votes to grant a stay, that the court viewed the legal questions presented by the case as substantial enough to warrant further consideration.” At CNN, Ariane de Vogue reports that “[t]he justices set up an expedited briefing schedule to hear arguments from both sides on whether the court should agree to hear Trump’s appeal this term.”

Yesterday morning the justices released additional orders from last week’s conference; they did not add any new cases to their docket for the term, and they denied review in several high-profile cases. Amy Howe covers the order list for this blog, in a post that first appeared at Howe on the Court. At Bloomberg Environment, Ellen Gilmer reports that the justices declined to “step into a legal dispute between a prominent climate scientist and a pair of conservative organizations that questioned his work and compared him to a convicted child molester.” For The New York Times, Karen Zraick reports that the justices also turned away “the case of Adnan Syed, whose murder conviction nearly 20 years ago formed the basis of the hit podcast “‘Serial.'”

Jonathan Adler writes at Reason’s Volokh Conspiracy blog (via How Appealing) that the justices denied rehearing in Gundy v. United States, a failed non-delegation challenge to portions of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act”[;] Unsurprisingly, the Court also denied certiorari in a parallel non-delegation case, … but Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote separately suggesting he is ready to reconsider the Court’s nondelegation precedents, particularly in the context of ‘major questions.'” Richard Wolf reports for USA Today that the court “re-entered the national debate over the influence of money in politics Monday by vacating a lower court decision that upheld Alaska’s low campaign contribution limits.” At the Election Law Blog, Rick Hasen observes that “there are better and worse ways for campaign finance reformers to lose at the current Supreme Court, … [a]nd the way the state of Alaska lost [yester]day is the least bad way it could lose.” At Crime & Consequences, Kent Scheidegger offers his take on the output from Friday’s conference.


  • At Reuters, Lawrence Hurley reports that “Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was present for work on Monday, a day after being released from a hospital following her admission on Friday with chills and a fever, a spokeswoman said.”
  • Kimberly Robinson reports at Bloomberg Law that “[t]he Trump administration’s focus on immigration has crowded the U.S. Supreme Court’s docket with an unusually large number of those cases this term”: “[T]he justices will have to sort out immigration cases touching on issues from expedited removal to identity fraud to judicial review.”
  • In The World and Everything In It (podcast), Mary Reichard discusses the oral arguments in Hernandez v. Mesa, which arises from a Mexican family’s efforts to hold a U.S. Border Patrol agent liable for the shooting death of their son, who was on the Mexican side of the border, and immigration case Barton v. Barr.
  • At Re’s Judicata, Richard Re writes that in Kansas v. Glover, which asks whether, for the purposes of an investigative stop under the Fourth Amendment, it is reasonable for police office to suspect that the registered owner of a car is the driver, “the justices and their commentators have focused on whether police had a reliable or testable basis for their suspicion; but a lack of individualized evidence may actually be the more serious and intractable problem.” [Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel to the respondent in this case.]
  • At The American Prospect (via How Appealing), Andrew Koppelman notes that “[i]t’s now more than a month since the Supreme Court heard oral argument … on whether federal law prohibits anti-gay discrimination, and suddenly conservatives have focused their attacks on what might seem like an improbable target: Justice Elena Kagan’s insistence on the importance of the plain language of the law.”
  • At Reason’s Volokh Conspiracy blog (via How Appealing), Josh Blackman “offer[s] several suggestions to improve the Supreme Court bar line.”