5 Ways to Naturally Increase Serotonin

What is Serotonin?
 
Serotonin plays an important role in facilitating sleep, self-confidence, regulating mood (happiness), and social interactions. Lack of serotonin can result in feeling depressed and irritable for no particular reason. Below are 5 ways to naturally increase serotonin levels in your body.

“People who are clinically depressed often have very low levels of serotonin,” says Dr. Daniel Amen, MD. [2]

 

1. Exercise
 
Exercising regularly naturally boosts serotonin in the brain, enhances mood, and has been shown to ward off depression.
 
Limited on time? Try a 20-30 minute HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workout either at home or at the gym. HIIT workouts burn a plethora of calories in a short period of time because the workout consists of a high number of reps with little rest time. If you're interested in a great workout, click the Youtube link below:
 
 
2. Probiotics
 
Serotonin is produced in your gut, so be sure to take a daily probiotic along with plenty of water. Research from Harvard Health states that "Probiotics may help boost mood and cognitive function."[5]
"The gut has been called a "second brain" because it produces many of the same neurotransmitters as the brain does, like serotonin, dopamine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid, all of which play a key role in regulating mood. In fact, it is estimated that 90% of serotonin is made in the digestive tract." [5]
3. Healthy Diet
 
You are what you eat! Be sure to fuel your body with the right foods.
 
Tryptophan, which is an essential amino acid, aids in the increase of your serotonin levels. The more foods you eat that contain tryptophan, the calmer you become. Typically, foods high in carbohydrates (pasta, bread, potatoes, etc.) contain high amounts of tryptophan. Other foods include:
 
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Pineapples
  • Tofu
  • Salmon
  • Turkey

 

4. Supplements
 
Often times, the food you consume will not have sufficient nutrients needed. I recommend taking a daily multi-vitamin to ensure proper nutrient consumption. Serotonin supplements that provide vitamins B6, B12, and folate, as well as concentrates of saffron, can help support healthy serotonin levels. Be sure the vitamins include:
 
  • B6
  • B12
  • Folate
  • Saffron
  • 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan)

 

 

5. Go Outside
 
Get outside! Spending time in the sun has a ton of benefits from improving mood to increasing one's vitamin-D levels (people get vitamin-D from sunlight, food, and supplements.)
 
To maximize the benefits:
 
  • Spend at least 10-15 minutes outside
  • Go for a walk
  • Workout outside

 

 
Sources:
[5] https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/probiotics-may-help-boost-mood-and-cognitive-function

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