Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
- Choose the Right Diet
- Get Some Sunshine
- 8 Ways Nature Boosts Your Total Health And Wellness
- Manage Your Stress Level
- Be More Active
- Get a Massage
- Take Natural Supplements
- Foods That Boost Your Vitamin D Intake
- The Relationship Between Happiness, Your Gut, and Psychobiotics
- What Are Nootropics?
- Healing Leaky Brain Syndrome: 5 Natural Solutions
Spending the afternoon outdoors…
Treating yourself to a massage…
Taking an after-dinner walk…
All of these activities have one big thing in common: you feel great afterward!
And that’s because they all help your body produce and release serotonin, “the feel-good hormone.”
But serotonin does more than just make you smile.
Let’s explore what serotonin does and how it impacts your physical and psychological health. Most importantly, let’s look at all-natural ways you can increase your serotonin levels and maximize its health benefits, so you can keep that glow going.
What Is Serotonin?
Serotonin is part of your body’s internal messaging system. It’s a vital neurotransmitter, carrying messages back and forth between your brain and your nerve cells.
As a chemical messenger, serotonin guides your body to function properly. This includes regulating functions such as body temperature, hunger, sleep, and sexual behavior.
Serotonin is also considered to be one of your body’s “happy hormones,” promoting good feelings and positive thinking on emotional and cognitive levels.
How Is Serotonin Created?
Your body produces serotonin in the lining of your gut (about 90%) and in your brain (10%). It then releases serotonin, so it can be circulated by your blood platelets. Eventually, it is delivered to the correct nerve cells, where it binds to receptors and influences the body’s actions.
Your body makes serotonin using tryptophan, an essential amino acid that can’t be produced, only obtained from food.
Warning Signs of Low Serotonin Levels
Are your serotonin levels low? Your mind and your body will let you know!
Serotonin affects several of your body’s key functions, and those will be the first ones affected if your serotonin level dips too low.
Here are some physical signs to look out for.
- Digestive issues, especially those related to bowel function and appetite control
- Insomnia and other sleep issues, either in quantity or quality of sleep
- Wound healing is taking longer than usual
Just as concerning as these physical symptoms, however, are the psychological issues that can result from a low serotonin level.
Because serotonin so closely ties into your mood—as the “happy hormone” we mentioned earlier—lower levels are associated with a number of emotional and cognitive symptoms, too.
Here are some additional signs that it’s time to raise your serotonin level.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Panic attacks or panic disorder
- Phobias (where none had existed previously)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Suicidal thoughts and behavior
Causes of Low Serotonin Levels
Because of the way serotonin is produced and circulated, there are two main causes for a low level of serotonin.
- Your body isn’t producing enough serotonin.
- Your body is producing enough serotonin, but the receptors aren’t absorbing it efficiently.
In either case, your body clearly needs access to more serotonin.
Let’s look at some of the ways you can boost serotonin naturally.
How to Increase Serotonin
If you’ve started noticing signs that your body needs to increase its serotonin levels, we have good news.
You can take control of your serotonin levels. And you don’t need to take side effect-producing medications to do it!
Here are the best ways you can increase your serotonin naturally, to feel your physical and emotional best.
Choose the Right Diet
Your body uses tryptophan to create serotonin.
But tryptophan is an essential amino acid, meaning your body won’t produce it on its own. The only way to have tryptophan available is to make sure you’re getting enough of it in your diet.
So, eating foods high in tryptophan is an easy, healthy way to boost serotonin naturally.
The next time you go to the grocery store, stock up on these tryptophan-containing foods to increase your body’s production of serotonin.
- Cheeses, including mozzarella and cheddar
- Fish, especially tilapia, tuna, snapper, and salmon
- Nuts such as walnuts, cashews, pistachios, peanuts, and almonds
- Pacific oysters
- Poultry (turkey and chicken)
- Roast beef
- Seeds, particularly pumpkin, squash, chia, and flax seeds
- String beans
- Wheat bread
And if you have a sweet tooth, we have good news! Both sweet and semi-sweet chocolate contains tryptophan. Of course, it also contains less desirable ingredients, so moderation is always the key.
Get Some Sunshine
Spending time outdoors isn’t just good for your soul, it’s good for your serotonin levels!
Sunlight triggers your brain to produce more serotonin. Over time, spending time outdoors regularly results in consistently higher serotonin levels.
The correlation between sunlight and serotonin is one of the reasons why some people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) during the winter months. The reduced hours of sunshine result in lower serotonin levels, which can lead to depression.
Manage Your Stress Level
Managing your stress can be the key to breaking out of this harmful cycle.
Here are some effective ways to manage your stress… and your serotonin production.
- Eat well-balanced meals
- Get plenty of rest
- Be creative: sing, dance, draw, or whatever else inspires you
- Use social media mindfully
- Meditate, stretch, and practice deep breathing techniques
- Participate in hobbies you enjoy
- Connect with your community and your loved ones
- Ask for help when you need it
- Use calming aromatherapy scents
- Listen to soothing music
- Allow yourself to say no when you feel overwhelmed
With these stress reduction techniques, you can raise your serotonin levels for an overall increase in happiness and positivity.
You can also reduce your stress with an all-natural stress-busting supplement. We’re big fans of Just Calm by award-winning Just Thrive, our go-to for powerful, natural supplements.
This calming supplement features the most effective psychobiotic strain alongside a potent mix of B vitamins. Together, they help maintain healthy serotonin levels, to help you feel cool, calm, and stress-free.
Be More Active
When you exercise, your body produces and releases more serotonin, making it more bioavailable.
It takes about 30 minutes of exercise to affect your serotonin production. The most effective exercises are aerobic ones such as walking, jogging, cycling, or swimming.
Other forms of exercise, such as yoga and strength training, can also boost your serotonin production—but not as much.
For maximum serotonin production and overall health, aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, 3-5 times per week.
That being said, it can be difficult to find the motivation to exercise when you are feeling down. Sometimes even getting out of bed is a struggle, so give yourself grace. Start with what feels manageable to you, even if it’s just a 5 minute walk outside or 5 squats a day, and build from there.
Get a Massage
A massage doesn’t just soothe your muscles, it also increases your serotonin production.
Studies show that a one-hour massage elevates your levels of serotonin and dopamine, the other “feel good” hormone. In fact, a massage can raise your serotonin level by up to 28%.
At the same time, massage therapy decreases the production of cortisol, your body’s stress hormone.
Although by itself there’s nothing negative about cortisol, consistently high cortisol levels can lead to chronic stress. And, as we noted earlier, this can trigger a difficult-to–break cycle of higher stress levels and lower serotonin levels.
Take Natural Supplements
Even if you’re increasing your serotonin via other methods, supplements are a good way to support steady serotonin levels.
Here are a few of the best supplements for promoting and maintaining serotonin.
We recommend consulting your healthcare provider before starting on any new supplement regimen.
The “sunshine vitamin” encourages your body to produce and release more serotonin. And in a perfect world, you’d be able to spend plenty of time outdoors, soaking up the sun.
However, rainy days, busy schedules, and other obstacles can make it challenging to get enough sunlight to positively impact your serotonin level.
If that’s the case, research shows vitamin D supplements can also be effective at supporting your serotonin levels.
We love this one by Just Thrive because not only does it deliver 5000 IU of D3, the same form of D3 your body manufactures when skin is exposed to sunlight, but it’s paired with vitamin K2-7, supporting crucial D3 absorption and utilization, among other benefits.
At the beginning of this article, we briefly mentioned an astonishing fact. Over 90% of the serotonin in your body is found in your gut. That’s because your gut bacteria are responsible for producing serotonin (from the tryptophan you consume, which makes its way to your gut).
Our favorite supplement is Just Thrive Probiotic. Its thick endospore shell protects it on its journey to your gut, where it arrives 100% alive and ready to work.
Featuring four potent spore-based probiotic strains, this powerful supplement balances your gut microbiome and keeps it in prime condition, supporting the natural production of serotonin.
For even more support you might consider incorporating a psychobiotic supplement into your daily regimen. Psychobiotics are specific types of probiotics that confer mental health benefits.
Our favorite is Just Calm, the mood-supporting “mind-biotic” from Just Thrive. Just Calm contains the clinically studied, proprietary psychobiotic, Bifidobacterium longum 1714™ plus a supportive blend of the brain-nourishing B vitamins (B6, B9, and B12).
If you’re not getting enough tryptophan in your diet, consider a tryptophan supplement. The increased dose can have a positive impact on your serotonin production.
One recent study shows that combining a tryptophan supplement with a tryptophan-rich diet can yield the best results in serotonin levels.
St. John’s Wort
This is one of the most effective supplements for increasing serotonin levels. Research shows that it raises the serotonin level in your brain, making it more available for your body to use as a neurotransmitter.
One important thing to keep in mind: St. John’s Wort is incredibly potent. So much so that it can react with other serotonin boosters and medications (even those not intended to raise serotonin levels) and create an excess of serotonin. Be sure to consult your healthcare provider before adding it to your supplement routine.
Serotonin is much more than just a “feel-good hormone.” As a neurotransmitter, serotonin is vital to your physical and emotional well-being.
Unfortunately, if your serotonin levels drop, the resulting symptoms can affect your mind and body in numerous negative ways.
Luckily, there are highly effective, all-natural solutions to help you raise your serotonin level naturally.
You really can take control of your serotonin levels—and your health.
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