How To Increase Serotonin Levels In Natural Ways
One of the widely recognized “happy hormones” or the brain chemicals commonly associated with feelings of happiness and satisfaction is serotonin, which is actually being produced in the majority in our digestive system. This neurotransmitter affects our mood and emotions and is linked to depression and anxiety disorders. It also has influence over our memory and learning, sexual desire, cravings, sleep, the regulation of body temperature and certain social behaviors. Too much serotonin though can lead to a set of symptoms called Serotonin Syndrome that can get serious if left untreated.
What Is The Serotonin Syndrome?
Serotonin Syndrome takes place after using certain serotonergic medications, whether an increase in the dosage or an addition of a new drug, that can result in an over-accumulation of the chemical in the body.
The symptom onset is typically fast, occurring within minutes to several hours following drug intake that causes the excessive levels of serotonin. The syndrome encompasses a wide scope of mild symptoms that may include an increase in heart rate, shivering, dilated pupils, intermittent jerking or twitching of muscles or loss of muscle coordination to severe ones which may consist of muscle rigidity, very high temperature, irregular heart rate, seizures, and unconsciousness. Any experience of the above symptoms especially when you are under medications that are known to increase serotonin levels, including illicit drug or even herbal supplements should instantly push you to seek for an immediate consultation and treatment.
Other individuals are more predisposed to develop this group of symptoms even by taking just one drug or supplement associated with increasing serotonin levels. Mostly though, this condition happens subsequent to a combination of different medications. This may also come about through a deliberate overdose of antidepressants. Always talk about possible risks when consulting with your physician. Be sure your doctor knows if you’re taking one or more drug treatments to prevent becoming prone to developing serotonin syndrome.
How To Increase Serotonin Levels Naturally
Fortunately, there are simple and natural ways you can do to address your inadequate serotonin levels, taking medications that can lead to the serotonin syndrome out in the discussion. Below, we list out four ways on how to increase serotonin the easy way. Starting with the easiest:
How To Increase Serotonin? Enjoy Your Daily Dose of Sunlight
There is a reason why people who get to experience winter and therefore does not usually go out are more likely to feel a downward shift in mood and energy and suffer from seasonal blues. This shift in the season triggers physiological changes inside the brain which in turn affects the mood. This is seen as a contributing factor of a certain mental disorder called Seasonal Affective Disorder, a kind of depression that strikes during cold and dark months.
In psychology, light therapy, or exposing one’s self to sunlight, is a common way of treating seasonal blues. The direct correlation between the light we get from the sun and serotonin levels have been long established scientifically. Less exposure to sunlight may increase the chances of decreased serotonin level. An adequate amount of sunshine, in contrast, can boost your mood by directly causing serotonin synthesis.
Basically, the brighter the light, the higher the serotonin production (this does not necessarily entail however the full might of the sun). Our skin also is the site of vitamin D synthesis—which really is a hormone rather than an actual vitamin—via exposure to ultraviolet radiation allowing tryptophan, a type of amino acid, to be converted into serotonin.
You can start by finding time first thing in the morning to go out and take a 15-minute walk under the sun, bathing yourself with its sunlight. Some people still take a supplement that contains a high potency formula. This is especially ideal during colder seasons. What’s more? Sun exposure improves cognitive function and sleeping pattern as bright light aids the conversion of serotonin into melatonin, a substance essential for a sound sleep at night. So what are you waiting for? Get out now and enjoy your daily dose of unlimited sunlight. After reading this, that is. Just be careful not to do so excessively for you might endanger yourself for a potential skin cancer.
Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
It is really no good at being lazy sitting all day doing little to almost no movement at all. Get up, shake your body and do some serious exercise. It has been shown in various studies that exercise can increase not only serotonin synthesis but also its release. The activation of motor neurons, which is basically what happens when you move, upsurges the firing rate of serotonin neurons, furthering the production and discharge of the happy hormone. It’s good to know that exercise also promotes tryptophan within the brain.
The same principle in sunlight exposure goes to exercise since the more you move the more available serotonin is in your body, way more effective than serotonin-boosting medications in some cases. So make exercise a part of your daily routine. But do so with all good intentions, including having to go against the boredom of doing so. Remarkably, you won’t get the right neurochemical effect when you feel forced or when you strive to do so much.
That’s why everybody’s always smiling after every exercise, fighting the chance of inadequate serotonin level and even serotonin syndrome without really being conscious about it. Aerobic exercises like jogging, running, and cycling, in particular, are highly advisable. This does not omit yoga and other forms of exercise though in the equation. So no worries.
Treat Yourself With a Massage
Physical contact is not only known as a way of lowering blood pressure and heart rate, it is also a potent happiness booster. A study by Touch Research Institutes at the University Of Miami School Of Medicine showed that skin to skin contact by massage enhances serotonin level by 28%, with dopamine by 31%.
Pregnant women who are prone to depression can benefit from this natural treatment. When massaged twice weekly for four months, their serotonin levels increased by 30%. This sounds really promising given how disturbing this scenario is. Depression, which can lead to post-partum blues and eventually post-partum depression, affects not just the mother but especially the baby’s overall well-being inside the mother’s womb. Even the babies of depressed mothers can have the serotonin-enhancing benefit of massage. Only 15 minutes of massage is needed twice a week for six weeks and the serotonin is improved by 34%. This obviously can be your ticket to enjoy a stress-relieving massage from your significant other for just a small portion of their time.
A Healthy and Positive Lifestyle
How to increase serotonin? Try animal proteins such as in fish, chicken, meat, dairy and eggs are all incredible sources of tryptophan, an amino acid we used as a precursor in manufacturing serotonin. Don’t forget marine animals too, as the omega-3 fatty acids found in seafood help increase serotonin synthesis inside the brain and enhance serotonin neurotransmitter transport across neurons.
Consuming foods rich in carbohydrates help secrete insulin from the blood and into the cells, leading to Tryptophan dominance in the circulation which will then be converted into serotonin. So don’t be afraid of increasing your carb intake even for a little amount. Other food products include cheese which is also a potent source of tryptophan, nuts, and seeds because they all contain the amino acid, turmeric which is believed to be an effective antidepressant, tofu and other soy products which are all again rich sources of tryptophan, among all others. Vitamin B6, B12, inositol, saffron, Folate, 5-HTP. They all regulate serotonin synthesis too. These micronutrients and natural supplements are indispensable to physiological processes.
Then avoid alcohol, as it is linked with drops in serotonin level. Improve the balance of bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract; we already know the majority of serotonin is found in the digestive system. Learn how to manage stress, as it leads to adrenaline and cortisol production which obstruct serotonin by destroying serotonin receptor sites. Learn also how to meditate; it’s a natural serotonin enhancer.
Most of all, maintain a positive disposition in life. The question of how to increase serotonin can be answered in a natural way. So no matter how trying life can be, always strive to stay happy and hopeful. After all, happiness is a choice.