Serotonin is a neurotransmitter produced in the brain that makes us feel good. It is a known fact that people with low activity of serotonin in their brain feel stressed and anxious easily compare to people with higher activity. Drugs are normally used on people with low serotonin activity, but unfortunately, taking drugs like Prozac and Zoloft have side effects including suicidal thoughts. Also, in men with who have premature ejaculation issue are also prescribed (in some cases) with SSRI(Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor), which is an antidepressant, but unfortunately, instead of making the condition better it cause other sexual problems1 like erectile dysfunction. If you care about your sex life, better stay away from antidepressant drugs. There are many natural alternatives that are safer and they work.
Before we go into learning certain ways to boost serotonin activity in the brain using natural means, it would more beneficial to know what is serotonin and how it is produced and function within the brain. You can also refer to this website for an animated explanation on serotonin.
When it comes to natural solutions to maintaining a good level of serotonin activity in the brain, lifestyle changes matters. If you’ve watched the video, hopefully now you know that there is no such thing as low serotonin level. It depends on the activity and how often it is produced in the brain. There are many factors that affect serotonin activity, but if you switch and live healthy lifestyle practices, serotonin level can be easily restored.
1. The Foods You Eat
Food is a staple in human health including brain health. A healthy brain can easily focus because it can generate the right kinds of hormones for different responses. Choosing the right kinds of foods is critical to maintaining overall health, that of course, includes the brain. It is vital to look at and take care the entire body’s health because when something went wrong in one system can affect other systems. For instance, gut health affects the brain and experts now recognized the gut-brain axis connection.
Particularly, whole foods are healthy preferable over highly processed carbs and sugars. However, not all whole foods are ideal as many of the produced these days are laden with pesticides and other chemicals for the sake of high yields. Therefore, whenever you can always prefer organic produced. Many people consider organic foods expensive, but if you look at it closely, organic foods are far cheaper. Even better, if you have a space at home, plants some vegetables.
Experts also found according to one study2 that Vitamin B6 aids function and production of serotonin in the brain. The NIH listed natural sources of Vitamin B6, which you can make as baseline on your diet.
2. Regular Exposure To Sunlight
Sunlight is the best source for Vitamin D, particularly D3. It also helps maintain the proper level of serotonin activity in the brain boosting mood and reduce the risk of depression and seasonal affective disorder, which is commonly diagnosed during the winter season. However, even with just a little and somewhat chilly sunshine can be beneficial to both mind and body. If you live in a region where sunlight is available whole year round, you’re lucky. But, you’ve got to do regular sun exposure. It feels good, especially during the morning.
3. Have A Regular Visit To Your Favorite Massage Spa
Massage is so relaxing, and there’s a reason for that. One study3 found that massage has a direct positive effect on serotonin level. It helps reduce the stress hormone cortisol, which blocks the production or activity of serotonin in the brain. So, treat yourself a relaxing massage during weekends. Massage also help increase the production of dopamine in the brain, a chemical known as reward pleasure.
4. Practice Meditation Regularly
There are studies4 5 that demonstrated the positive effect of meditation on serotonin. Now, when it comes to meditation especially for first timers, it seems like a big word translating into an activity that involved sitting cross-legged for hours. Well, there are many forms of meditation, but the most common one is mindfulness. Mindfulness simply allowing yourself to be aware your body while controlling your external thoughts not to interfere. This can be done for short as 5 minutes for beginners, and as long as 30 minutes or beyond for experienced meditators.
5. Exercise Regularly
There’s no doubt that exercise is a great, but under prescribed antidepressant and has positive effect on the brain. There is a strong link between mood and exercise according to the American Psychological Association. Boston University professor Michael Otto also share the same view on exercise as an antidepressant, and even walking in nature works pretty well, too.
6. Taking Supplementation
Regardless of your efforts of choosing organic foods, you may still lack some of the important nutrients that can help boost serotonin production. In this case, taking good quality supplementation is essential. For instance, we mentioned Vitamin B6, if you feel you need more boost for it, take supplements containing Vitamin B6. Additionally, 5-HTP(Hydroxytryptophan), which is actually serotonin is a naturally-occurring amino acid that comes from seed extracts of a plant native in West Africa called Griffonia simplicifolia. 5-HTP along with Vitamin B6 converts into serotonin and has been found effective for depression, anxiety, hypertension, and insomnia treatment. You may have to consult your health care provider prior to taking this supplementation.
There you have it. Hopefully, you’ll consider taking action on these serotonin activity boosting lifestyle changes and enjoy the long term benefits of it. Not only these will improve your serotonin activity, but it also helps solve blood pressure problems and boost good cholesterol in the body. It is also worth mentioning if you’re smoker quitting smoking can have a positive effect on your overall health. Although, during the process of quitting it may be a struggle for some people, but there are tools and support groups than can help quitters win their battle against smoking.
- Antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction ↩
- Half-baked? B vitamins and depression ↩
- CORTISOL DECREASES AND SEROTONIN AND DOPAMINE INCREASE FOLLOWING MASSAGE THERAPY ↩
- How to increase serotonin in the human brain without drugs ↩
- Biologic effects of mindfulness meditation: growing insights into neurobiological aspects of the prevention of depression ↩
- The Link Between Stress and Alcohol ↩
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism No. 32 PH 363 April 1996 ↩
- Alcohol consumption as a cause of cancer ↩