Serotonin is one of the most important feel-good neurotransmitters. It’s been called the “happy molecule” for the role it plays in positive mood.
Low serotonin levels influence everything from your appetite to your sleep cycle, memory, sex drive, and mood. A serotonin deficiency can cause depression and anxiety, among other things. Let’s take a look at 5 ways you can increase your serotonin levels.
This probably wouldn’t seem like the place to start for someone with depression or another seratonin deficiency, but keep in mind that your gut is where the majority of your body’s seratonin is. Probiotics help lay a foundation for proper gut health. Fermented foods, kefir, saurkraut, kimchi, kombucha and yogurt are all are one way to get probiotics, and of course, you can always use supplementation.
If you are dealing with low serotonin, increasing your vitamin B levels would help. Several of the B-vitamins have been linked to helping depression, energy levels, etc, and they all work together. Vitamin B6 is required by the body to make the amino acid tryptophan which is converted to serotonin. There is also a significant interaction of this same pathway with Vitamin B3 as well. You want to make sure that you keep the levels of the B vitamins up in the body to give yourself a better chance of producing the serotonin you need.
Tryptophan is the key amino acid in the production of serotonin in the body. If you are looking to increase serotonin, tryptophan is definitely a big help. In order to affect the serotonin in the brain, we have to have the tryptophan get there first. When we eat protein in our diet, there will be some of this available, but studies show that other amino acids will be taken up much faster and the tryptophan will often get converted to another amino acid, or it’s wasted and never makes it to the brain. How do we fight this? By taking a tryptophan supplement separately from a meal.
Studies have shown that the amount of serotonin released in the brain went up dramatically when people are exposed to more sunlight. The longer the time you can be in the sun, the better off you will be. Please note that in order for this to work, you need to be in the sun for some time WITHOUT sunscreen.
Exercise has been proven to do so many things to help the human body, and here is yet another. Exercise of any sort, but primarily of the cardio version seems to really help boost the production and release of serotonin in the body. 2 pieces of advice on this one: As always, the best exercise is the one that you will do, find something you like and stick with it. Also, mood plays a big part of the benefits of exercise, if you feel like you are being forced to do something and you go at it with that attitude, you may not get the full benefit of exercise in respect to your serotonin levels.
Depression and other signs of serotonin deficiency have climbed to an all time high in our society. Pharmaceuticals are sometimes necessary to help calm some of these symptoms, but often they are ineffective and can even be detrimental in a number of ways. If you are looking for a more permanent way to fix the problem and not having to deal with the side effects of medication, give the above a try. At the very least, you will improve your body’s natural functions and give it the chance to function optimally.