Serotonin is a chemical produced in nerve cells within the human brain. It acts as a neurotransmitter, passing signals between one area of the brain to the other. Fluid serotonin activity helps regulate brain cells related to mood, appetite, sleep, memory & learning, sexual desire and general happiness. Low serotonin levels can be hereditary and are often found in individuals with moderate to severe impression. A doctor may prescribe medication to improve serotonin production, but there are several ways to give yourself a natural boost of the chemical.
Here are a few ways you can increase your serotonin :
- Eat foods containing tryptophan – Consuming tryptophan (a precursor form of serotonin) along with carbohydrates will promote the production of serotonin in the brain.
- Take supplements – Supplements such as magnesium, omega -3, zinc, 5-HTP, probiotics, vitamin C & folic acid can be taken upon recommendation from a medical professional.
- Expose yourself to sunlight – Sunlight therapy using either white light or natural sunlight have been shown to remedy depressive symptoms in individuals.
- Exercise – Exercise promotes the balance between three key chemical messengers, norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine.
- Remember happy events – Studies have shown that merely remembering happy events increases serotonin production.
- Get a massage – Massages can increase both serotonin and dopamine levels, while decreasing cortisol (the stress hormone).
- Avoid alcohol – Serotonin levels after alcohol consumption can resemble that of depressed individuals.
- Meditate – Along with a myriad of other health benefits, meditation has been shown to modulate serotonin levels.
- Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES) – Electrical stimulation such as the Fischer Wallace Stimulator promotes serotonin production while lowering alcohol.
If you are experiencing depressive symptoms, there are many ways that you can begin to move towards recovery. Regardless of whether you prefer treatment that focusses on lifestyle change or a pharmacological treatment, a mental health professional will be able to help you navigate the road to recovery.