Boosting Serotonin the Natural Way

Boosting Serotonin the Natural WayWith a lot being talked about supplements to boost serotonin level in the body, there is an earnest need to understand it's role and look out for natural ways to enhance serotonin level in the body. 

Serotonin is synthesized in serotonergic neurons in the central nervous system (CNS) where it has numerous functions, including the regulation of mood, appetite, sleep, muscle contraction, and some cognitive functions including memory and learning. About 80 to 90 percent of the human body's total serotonin is located in the enterochromaffin cells in the gut, there it is used to regulate intestinal movements.

Serotonin is made inside the body from the amino acid, tryptophan. This amino acid is found in various food sources, and high amounts are found in carbohydrates, chocolate and other sweets. When a person ingests chocolate, the body converts tryptophan, the building block into serotonin.

Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that sends satiety messages to your brain. Optimum levels of serotonin ensure healthy gut-brain communication and appetite control via the delivery of accurate satiety messages from the digestive tract to the brain.  Lack of serotonin leads to strong carbohydrate cravings that can lead to weight gain due to the overconsumption of calories. Besides there are certain conditions such as stress, PMS, and seasonal depression decrease your brain's ability to manufacture serotonin. Lifestyle variables such as diet and physical activity also determine the amount of serotonin your body would be able produce.

The natural way to enhance and maintain optimum serotonin levels is via,  

  • Boosting Serotonin the Natural WayGetting adequate exposure to sunlight on a daily basis. Studies have proven that being exposed to light helps with depression and stimulates serotonin production by counteracting the production of melatonin—a hormone created by darkness that induces sleep.

  • Daily exercise, thirty- forty minutes a day will boost serotonin levels and support weight loss.  What’s more is that as people engage in regular exercise they also naturally increase the growth of the hippocampus in the brain, which positively affects peoples emotions and makes them feel good. You don’t need to perform these 30 minutes of exercise all at once, however. You can split them up into two groups of 15 minutes or three groups of 10 minutes if you’re short on time.

  • Ensuring enough vitamin B6 in your diet. B6 helps to convert the amino acid tryptophan into serotonin.  Try to eat a Mediterranean diet that is full of fish, fruit, vegetables, legumes and nuts. Consisting of monounsaturated fats like olive oil, a Mediterranean diet is high in folates and B6, which are helpful nutrients that stimulate serotonin conversion in the body. This diet also advises a low amount of diary products, meats, and alcohol.

  • Boosting Serotonin the Natural WayAvoiding  refined, processed foods that are either low in fiber or completely devoid of it. Refined foods tend to cause hike in insulin levels, thereby disturbing body's hormonal balance.  Also, such foods are high in macronutrients (fats, carbohydrates, and protein) but low on micronutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, which signal the brain to send messages. Fiber along with sufficient amounts of micronutrients create feelings of satiety, thereby decreasing hunger and appetite. The state of optimum nourishment also removes the desire to overeat. You end up being trim, healthy, and happy.

  • Controlling mood swings-  Practice some form of ritual, meditation, relaxing exercises in order to control mood fluctuations.

Whole foods dietary approach initiates and supports detoxification, a vital, life-sustaining metabolic process that triggers weight loss, strengthens immunity, promotes healing, and improves moods and mental functions.

There are medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s) that act as anti-depressants and help to boost serotonin levels. However, they do come with side effects and can cause potentially dangerously high serotonin levels in the brain.



- WF Team

Dated 5 January 2012

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