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HomeAnswersGeneral Practitioneralzheimer's diseaseKindly explain the link between serotonin and Alzheimer's.

What is the link between serotonin and Alzheimer's disease?


The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Medically reviewed by

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Published At March 27, 2024
Reviewed AtMarch 27, 2024

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

I have a family member dealing with Alzheimer's disease, and I have heard about the potential role of serotonin in cognitive health, especially in cases of mild cognitive impairment. Can you provide a comprehensive understanding of how serotonin is linked to Alzheimer's and if there are ways, be it lifestyle or medical, to support serotonin levels for improved cognitive function in such situations?

Kindly provide your insight.


Welcome to icliniq.com.

I read your query and understood your concern.

Firstly, I would like to give you some information based on scientific research. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in various bodily functions, including mood regulation, sleep, and appetite. Recent studies have suggested that serotonin may also play a role in cognitive function, particularly in memory and learning. In Alzheimer's disease, there is a significant decrease in serotonin levels in the brain, which may contribute to cognitive decline. This decrease in serotonin levels is thought to be due to the loss of serotonin-producing neurons in the brain, which is a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. Studies have shown that increasing serotonin levels in the brain through medication or lifestyle modifications may improve cognitive function in individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which is often a precursor to Alzheimer's disease. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which are commonly used to treat depression and anxiety, have been shown to improve memory and cognitive function in individuals with MCI.

I suggest you follow below-mentioned lifestyle modifications that may support serotonin levels and improve cognitive function:

  1. Exercise: Regular exercise has been shown to increase serotonin levels in the brain, which may improve cognitive function.
  2. Diet: Eating foods rich in tryptophan, an amino acid that is converted into serotonin in the body, may support serotonin levels. Foods rich in tryptophan include turkey, chicken, eggs, and dairy products.
  3. Sleep: Getting enough sleep is crucial for maintaining healthy serotonin levels. Lack of sleep has been shown to decrease serotonin levels and impair cognitive function.
  4. Socialization: Socializing with others has been shown to increase serotonin levels and improve cognitive function.

While lifestyle modifications and medication may support serotonin levels and improve cognitive function, they should be used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for Alzheimer's disease or MCI. Your healthcare provider can provide guidance on the most appropriate treatment plan for your relative's specific condition based on their symptoms and underlying health conditions.

I hope this has helped you. Kindly follow up if you have more doubts.

Thank you.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Vandana Andrews
Dr. Vandana Andrews

General Practitioner

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