Serotonin is a chemical substance produced by the body, and which is believed to be responsible for ensuring a good mood. This chemical neurotransmitter is a derivative of tryptophan, one of the amino acids in the body.
Serotonin is produced in the Central Nervous System (CNS) where some of its functions in addition to regulating mood, include sleep and appetite regulation. It is evident that serotonin plays a key role in the body. In some cases however, there is reduced serotonin biosynthesis owing to a number of conditions. To counter this and ensure that the neurotransmitter functions optimally, it is important to take home remedies that will boost its production.
This is important because in recent times, research has pointed to a close connection between serotonin levels and cases of depression and suicide. In fact, studies support the fact that boosting serotonin in the body is an integral way of treating depression. By using home remedies to increase these levels, individuals can be able to avoid the pharmacological effects of using prescription medicine and manage dependency on drugs.
NOTE: If you suspect you may be suffering from depression or any related conditions, make sure you get medical attention immediately. Using these foods should only be used as an adjunct treatment or to keep your body healthy.
1. Physical Activity:
Time Required: Varies depending on the specific routine.
What You Need: Relevant work out gear.
Exercise has scientifically been proven to stimulate the production of many chemical compounds that enhance mood, among them serotonin and dopamine. Exercise has been associated with an increase in the amount of tryptophan in the body. Tryptophan, as mentioned above, is the precursor for serotonin.
This tryptophan is made available to the brain where serotonin is produced through a short series of biochemical reactions. Increased levels of serotonin help regulate a number of body functions. To get the most benefits from this natural solution, it is advisable to take aerobic exercises. The most consistent effect is seen when one takes regular aerobic exercises at the level where they are accustomed to.
- Choose an aerobic routine that works for you to help increase the amount of serotonin in the body.
- If you are unsure, feel free to check with your physical trainer to chart the way forward.
2. High Vitamin Intake:
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: Multivitamin supplements.
One of the ways in which you can boost serotonin production in the body is by ensuring that there is no vitamin deficiency in the body. This is important for the simple reason that while vitamins are not directly involved in the biochemical reactions for serotonin synthesis, they act as cofactors to ensure optimal reactions. Listed below are some of the key vitamins alongside their benefits in serotonin production.
– Vitamin B6, also referred to as pyridoxine, must be available to allow for the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin. This is why many tryptophan supplements list Pyridoxine as one of the ingredients.
– Vitamin B9, also known as folic acid, plays a key role in ensuring that serotonin receptors function optimally. Folic acid deficiency has been linked to low production of serotonin.
– Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is yet another co-factor that must be present for the seamless production of serotonin.
– Vitamin D plays a key role in the regulation of tryptophan conversion to serotonin. While Vitamin D is easily produced by the body following exposure to the sun, those living in countries in the topmost northern hemisphere may need Vitamin D supplements to avoid deficiencies.
- Consider getting multivitamin supplements to facilitate the optimal production of serotonin in the body. In addition to this, seek foods that are rich in vitamins to ensure there are no deficiencies.
3. Improve Gut Health:
Time Required: Varies depending on the specific foods.
What You Need: Foods that maintain a healthy gut.
One of the best ways to increase serotonin production is to maintain a healthy gut. Scientific research shows that there are two main sites for the production of serotonin: the brain and the gut. The latter accounts for more than 80% of the serotonin produced. By maintaining a healthy gut, it is possible to ensure optimal production of this important neurotransmitter. There are several ways in which you can improve the health of the gastrointestinal system as listed below.
Ways to Improve the Health of the Gut:
- Make sure your diet has probiotic foods. By definition, these are foods which have undergone natural fermentation in order to provide the body with the good bacteria necessary for a healthy yogurt. Excellent sources in this food category include kefir, miso, probiotic yogurt as well as. In the absence of these natural foods, probiotic supplements may be used.
- Prebiotics are yet another way to improve the health of the gut. Not to be confused with prebiotics, these are foods that contain non-digestible carbohydrates whose purpose is to nourish the probiotics and encourage the multiplication of healthy bacteria. Recommended sources of prebiotics include bananas, onions, whole grains and garlic.
- Eliminate junk from your diet. Processed foods that are rich in sugar wreck havoc on the gut and destroy the healthy bacteria needed for the gut. Foods to avoid in this category include pastries, french fries, processed and fatty cuts of meat among others. A high-fiber diet is an excellent alternative to junk food.
- Weigh the benefits of using antibiotics for mild conditions. The reason for this is that long-term use of antibiotics destroys the gut’s micro-flora, and depending on the period of administration, may lead to drug-resistant bacteria in the body. Seeing as antibiotics do not differentiate between ‘good’ bacteria in the gut and the infection-causing bacteria, both categories are destroyed. In the absence of these bacteria, the gut is not able to optimally produce serotonin, which in turn leads to a low concentration of the same.
Time Required: At least 30 Min
What You Need: Choice of massage oil and a warm water bath.
A massage and boosting serotonin production may seem worlds apart, but the two are in fact correlated. Studies show that getting a relaxed massage significantly increases the production of serotonin levels in the body. This massage also has the benefit of acting as a stress reliever, and this is intertwined with some of the benefits of increased serotonin production in the body. Remember to use a massage oil, preferably warm for the best results.
- Warm the massage oil before use to allow better absorption by the skin. Some of the oils you may use include lavender, olive, coconut, jojoba and melrose sweet almond oil.
- You may want to have the massage done by a professional for best results.
5. St John’s Wort:
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: St. John’s Wort capsules.
One of the herbal home remedies recommended for the boosting of serotonin production in the body is St. Jon’s Wort. This herb, also known as Tipton’s Weed, is sourced from a plant, botanical name Hypericum perforatum. Its medicinal properties have made it a subject of study as far as its ability to increase serotonin is concerned. The herb’s active ingredient, hypercin, is thought to act as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (abbreviated SSRI). Compounds that act as SSRIs increase the levels of serotonin by inhibiting the process of reabsorption in the cells.
NOTE: The most important thing to keep in mind is that St. John’s Wort must not be used alongside prescription drugs as this may cause a serious case of drug-drug interactions. Consult your doctor before using this herbal remedy if you are on any other medication.
- Take the recommended dosage of St. John’s wort. Most people prefer to take the herb in tablet or capsule form as it has a very bitter taste.
6. Green Tea:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 1 Green tea bag, 1 cup of hot water and honey.
Green tea is one of the home remedies used to boost serotonin production in the body. This is because it is rich in L-Theanine, an amino acid that increases the production of serotonin in the body. It also has the advantage of making you les predisposed to serotonin. All you need is a green teabag and a cup of hot water.
- Place 1 green teabag in a cup of hot water and steep for 5 minutes.
- Squeeze the wet teabag and discard.
- Stir in some honey and drink the tea.
- Take at least 3 cups of green tea daily to boost serotonin production.
7. Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids:
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: Food sources rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids. Fish oil supplements (optional).
Omega-3 essential fatty acids are recommended for boosting serotonin in the body. The fatty acids contain DHA and EPA, two types of acids that are involved in the synthesis of serotonin. DHA increases the sensitivity of the serotonin receptors while EPA allows for increased release of serotonin from the nervous cells. Both types of acids play a key role in optimal brain function. Take food sources that are rich in omega fatty acids, or opt for supplements.
- Follow the recommended dosage of omega 3 fatty acids.
- Include foods rich in omega fatty acids such as wild salmon and mackerel.
Using natural remedies to boost serotonin is recommended because here are minimal side effects. In case of any doubts, consult your doctor to prevent drug-drug interactions in cases where you are using other medication.