Discovering strategies to boost serotonin—the hormone responsible for a sense of joy—can have a number of advantages. Serotonin helps to balance out emotions and cultivate feelings of contentment and satisfaction. This substance is instrumental in facilitating communication between brain and nervous system cells, helping to improve focus, digestion processes, and sleep cycles.
One way to enhance serotonin levels without drugs is to adopt good dietary habits, get physical activity, tackle stress, and take advantage of natural light. Along with that, some natural remedies, treatments, and drugs can increase serotonin levels. This article explains how serotonin levels affect your mood. It provides guidance on how to raise serotonin levels both through natural means and with the aid of drugs and supplements.
What Is Serotonin?
Serotonin is probably the most widely recognized chemical messenger in the human body. It is essential to have a better understanding of it since it is able to impact neural activity and many psychological functions.
The majority of serotonin is located outside of the central nervous system, and all 15 serotonin receptors are present on both sides of the brain.
Studies in 2020 have revealed that serotonin is a neurotransmitter of significant physiological relevance. The principal way of treating a number of neurological and psychiatric ailments is through this. This encompasses Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, melancholic disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, worries, despondency, and even other psychological ailments.
The construction of serotonin begins with tryptophan, a requisite amino acid found in the brain. The activation of a serotonin receptor leads to an adrenal reaction. Examples of potential signs of distress could include a faster breathing rate, a faster heartbeat, and larger than normal pupil size.
People who are knowledgeable about serotonin are also well-informed about dopamine. Even though they are distinct, both things can bring you joy. The hormone dopamine is associated with enjoyable feelings, body movement, emotions, making use of the motor system, memory-making, and reward systems.
The majority of serotonin within the body is kept in the digestive system rather than in the brain, while dopamine is not. An imbalance of either of the neurotransmitters can cause physical and psychological issues.
What Does Serotonin Do?
Serotonin, popularly known as the “joy molecule”, is involved in various activities, which brings joy and well-being to those who possess it. Behavior that usually relies heavily on the serotonin in the prefrontal cortex. It can be located in the blood platelets, intestines, and cerebrum.
Since the body needs it to send signals between nerve cells, it can affect digestion, emotions, feeling, and hunger.
Serotonin is capable of regulating the body’s internal clock and cycles of wakefulness and sleep. Essentially, serotonin is a key element required to facilitate memory, hunger, learning, rest, and a good disposition.
When serotonin levels are low, people can become depressed, agitated, easily frustrated, impulsive, and have other mood changes. It is very important for your mind, emotions, and body to find ways to enhance serotonin levels in a natural way, without taking medication.
Using SSRI drugs might be the most useful approach if someone has a major deficiency of serotonin.
This antidepressant can help bring serotonin levels back to normal and provide proper regulation of anxiousness. If you are suffering from a severe mental illness, it is suggested that you consult with a medical specialist.
Depending on the amount of serotonin produced in your body, you may need to take antidepressant medication to regulate the hormone associated with joy.
Why Are Serotonin Levels Important?
It is vital to your well-being, both mentally and physically, that you have a sufficient amount of serotonin. Having not enough serotonin can make you more prone to depression and other mental health issues like anxiety and OC.
It is believed that insufficient serotonin levels may be a contributing factor to various health conditions, including chronic fatigue syndrome (which results in intense and enduring weariness), fibromyalgia (marked by widespread muscular soreness), Alzheimer’s (a progressive disease that causes impaired memory and disorientation), and Parkinson’s (a neurological disorder associated with difficulty in movement).
It is conceivable that serotonin concentrations can be excessively high. This could result in serotonin syndrome, an uncommon disorder that can manifest itself in minor (uneasiness, sickness, bowel upset, twitching) to acute (perspiration, fever, bafflement) forms.
A number of elements can lead to a decrease in serotonin levels. These include:
- Tryptophan deficiency: The body naturally produces serotonin using the essential amino acid tryptophan. But it can’t make this essential amino acid on its own, so it must be taken in through food. If you are not eating enough foods with tryptophan, then the body can’t make enough serotonin.
- Other nutrient shortfalls: Research shows other nutrients, including vitamin D and probiotics, help to regulate the production, release, and function of serotonin.
- Malfunction of serotonin receptors: In some cases, your body may make enough serotonin but is unable to use it efficiently. This is usually due to having too few serotonin receptors or having serotonin receptors that aren’t working properly.
8 Practical Tips on How to Increase Serotonin Naturally Without Medication
In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in discovering ways to alter serotonin levels without using medication. People opt to stay away from using antidepressant medications due to the easier process of avoiding adverse side effects.
If you are searching for information about how to raise serotonin levels to feel better emotionally and avoid serotonin overload, then you have found the perfect spot. Below are 8 suggestions for natural remedies you can attempt.
1) Pay Attention to the Food You Eat
Eating food won’t provide serotonin, but it might offer tryptophan. Once tryptophan enters the brain, it can be changed into serotonin. Salmon, turkey, and other high-protein items are an excellent ways to get tryptophan.
Experimental animal studies from 2007 showed that tryptophan could effectively combat mild to moderate depression symptoms. In adults who are easily provoked, taking tryptophan may aid in improving their disposition, decreasing their inclination to quarrel, and making it simpler for them to relax.
It is recommended by specialists that eating dishes filled with tryptophan along with healthy carbohydrates is best to achieve the desired outcome. Carbohydrates ensure that Tryptophan can reach the brain and bypass the blood-brain barrier, which acts as a protective coating that controls what can pass into and out of the brain.
L-Methylfolate is the exclusive form of folic acid able to pass through the brain’s protective barrier and aid in the generation of neurotransmitters and regulation of emotion. A physician is the only one who can recommend this dietary supplement for individuals suffering from serious depression and lacking in folate.
2) Work On Your Athletic Performance
Unless you engage in some form of exercise, it’s unlikely that your serotonin levels will rise. When you work out, the body begins dispersing tryptophan throughout the bloodstream. It could also decrease the quantity of other amino acids that could interfere with the production of serotonin.
To increase serotonin, do aerobic exercise. This can be anything you’re comfortable doing. You may exercise by running, swimming, biking, and so on. Whatever your approach, it will get your heart rate up. You need this to boost the production of serotonin.
3) Practice Meditation
Harvard Medical School believes that meditation and mindfulness have the ability to change certain parts of the brain, which are in charge of understanding oneself, storing memories, and having empathy. They all play a crucial role in serotonin activity.
When you meditate, the body experiences neurological transformations that bring about a calming sensation. The high stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system helps to alleviate anxiousness while also increasing serotonin levels.
Individuals who are frequently dealing with tension will massively gain from meditating. The more you do it, the more quickly you can reduce the cortisol levels and stay in control of your body.
4) Jumpstart Serotonin Production With Supplements
Occasionally, a vitamin may help to spur you on in a positive way. For individuals who have difficulty with inadequate serotonin levels, serotonin supplements are a helpful starting point. A pure tryptophan supplement is available, which could assist in maintaining the appropriate amount of tryptophan. It can get to the brain and provide a mood-boosting effect on the system.
If you do not obtain adequate vitamin D, you can find it in pill form. Vitamin B6 can also help. Tryptophan is vital for the production of serotonin, making it a key element in modifying one’s mood and behavior; its distinct significance in this regard makes it particularly essential. If someone does not have enough vitamin B6, it can lead to feelings of sadness and negativity.
Another option is vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 aids in the generation of certain neurotransmitters, particularly serotonin and dopamine. A lack of this vitamin may cause psychological problems, difficulty sleeping, changes in mood, and abnormal behavior.
Experts recommend the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids for enhanced benefit. Vitamin supplementation providing fatty acids may improve brain serotonin levels and progression. Research has revealed that omega-3 may have a slight calming effect on levels of anxiety. Not only does it have the ability to increase serotonin, but it can also help alleviate anxiety disorders.
5) Get 15 Minutes of Sunlight
Taking a few moments to bask in the sun can lead to a boost in serotonin levels as bright sunlight has been known to do. The body’s internal clock, or circadian rhythm, is also promoted due to increased light exposure.
When skin is subjected to the sun’s rays, the ultraviolet B light is transformed by skin cells into vitamin D. Vitamin D has a major impact in the generation and activation of serotonin, which can improve one’s emotional state. Research has suggested that spending more time under the sun can cause a decrease in depression signs in older females.
Many professionals state that 10 to 15 minutes under the sun is sufficient for the majority of individuals to generate adequate amounts of vitamin D. If this is not possible, supplements are also available. Even though sunscreen can prevent sunburn, your body is still able to create vitamin D if you wear it. Therefore, those with either very fair or sensitive complexions should take extra precautions when spending time outdoors.
The Vitamin D and SAD Connection
Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a condition where depressive symptoms repeat themselves in a cyclic manner, usually in the autumn and winter when the days start to get shorter and it’s darker. It is believed that this state of being developed from a decrease in vitamin D from the sun that triggers a decrease in serotonin production.
The methods for managing seasonal affective disorder may involve medication, counseling, and changes to one’s particular lifestyle.
6) Change Your Thoughts
Explorations suggest that considering something that brightens your day can actually raise your serotonin levels.
It is well understood that it is not easy for those who are dealing with depression or other kinds of mental health issues to focus on being happy. Some ideas to help you think more positively:
- Look at old vacation photos
- Make a gratitude list
- Reach out to a friend
- Read inspirational literature
- Recall a fun memory
- Watch a comedy
If you have difficulty altering your thoughts, consider trying cognitive behavioral therapy. Collaborating with a certified counselor could assist in reforming one’s thinking habits and preventing instinctive pessimistic reflections.
7) Try Adaptogenic Herbs
Adaptogens are derived from plants and used to maintain equilibrium in the body, which involves the balance of physiological, chemical, and inner mechanisms. These herbs achieve this by aiding the body in handling stress and preserving its hormonal stability.
Initial studies seem to indicate that particular adaptogenic herbs could have the potential as an antidepressant. More research is needed, yet there is some evidence that the following may have an antidepressant effect:
- Rhodiola rosea (R. rosea)
It is essential to remember that since these herbs are a form of complementary alternative medicine, they do not have the approval of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is recommended that you consult with your healthcare provider before attempting any alternative therapies.
8) Stress Management
Prolonged stress has an adverse effect on the level of serotonin and impedes the capacity of serotonin receptors. It is essential that stress levels be controlled in order to keep serotonin levels at a desirable level.
Here are some study-backed stress-relieving techniques to try:
- Massage therapy
- Art therapy
- Breathing exercises
It’s difficult to banish stress from everyday life, yet some straightforward stress management techniques can be of immense help in aiding you to have a greater feeling of contentment.
Serotonin plays an integral role in various processes of the brain and body. It is thought that it might be able to aid in managing stress, nervousness, emotional state, and conduct.
Those who prefer not to take drugs to alter their serotonin and tryptophan levels can look into the natural alternatives available.
All of these techniques are backed up by scientific evidence and can be advantageous for the body.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What happens when you don’t get enough serotonin?
Low levels of serotonin can lead to depressive symptoms. A lack of serotonin is commonly linked to anxiety and difficulty sleeping.
Are serotonin supplements safe?
It is advisable to be careful when experimenting with them, although some are worth trying. Rather than antidepressants, which must be prescribed by your doctor and must adhere to FDA laws, supplements do not require a doctor’s order or any form of legal regulation.
Although not all scientific studies agree, there is some proof that taking supplements such as vitamin D, probiotics, and adaptogens may aid in the minimization of symptoms of depression. Research is ongoing.
Do low levels of serotonin cause depression?
Not necessarily. Having a lesser amount of serotonin in the body does not necessarily mean that one will experience depression, though this is a common association with low serotonin levels.
Can adaptogenic herbs boost serotonin?
Preliminary studies indicate that certain adaptogenic plants, including R. rosea, ginseng, and ashwagandha, could potentially enhance serotonin levels and facilitate a positive mental state. These plants and their derivatives are commonly employed in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicinal practices. Ayurveda is a form of alternative treatment rooted in the traditional Indian medicinal system.
It’s recommended to consult with a healthcare provider before taking adaptogens to ensure they are suitable for you, as they may have the potential to increase serotonin levels.