Do you regularly lack energy or feel irritable, anxious or sad without a specific reason? Is it common for you to lie awake at night, or do you struggle with negative thinking? Maybe you are dealing with a serotonin deficiency. Serotonin is a very important neurotransmitter that affects our mood and many other processes in our body. A serotonin deficiency is not uncommon. Luckily, there are natural ways in which we can increase our serotonin level. In this article, we give you our 5 best tips on how you can boost your serotonin level in a natural way.
Serotonin, the happy hormone
Our brain plays a major role in the way we feel and neurotransmitters are essential to feel good, energetic and happy. Maybe you've heard of the neurotransmitters dopamine, oxytocin and endorphins. But the neurotransmitter serotonin plays an essential role in the biochemistry of the brain. This neurotransmitter helps us sleep, and to maintain a good mood. Even our level self-confidence is affected by serotonin. Not only does serotonin makes us feel happy, energetic and confident. It also supports our appetite and our sense of social engangement. This wonderful neurotransmitter even affects our sex life!
Serotonin is also known as the happiness hormone or happy hormone. Of course, there are many other factors that determine how we feel, but don't underestimate the influence of serotonine. Increasing this happy hormone can make a significant difference when it comes to our mental and physical health.
What is serotonin?
Serotonin is a calming neurotransmitter, produced by our own body. The production of serotonin starts before we are born. Not only is serotonin the main hormone that stabilizes our mood and feelings of well-being and happiness. This neurotransmitter also helps us reduce our worries and improves our ability to learn and our memory.
When our body doesn't produce enough serotonin, we are more likely to feel irritable and anxious, and see the world through a negative lens. We may even feel depressed. Low levels of serotonin can also cause irregular appetite and sleep.
A negative mood, combined with insomnia and an unhealthy diet, affects all parts of our lives. We may make the wrong choices, radiate negative energy and we end up in a downward spiral. Our sense of happiness and well-being also influences our physical health. To be healthy and fit, it is important to feel happy (NCBI).
Symptoms of serotonin deficiency
So if you have a serotonin deficiency, you feel anxious, depressed or depressed. You may also feel irritable or even aggressive, and you may lack of self-confidence. Maybe you struggle with insomnia, or you often feel tired. Impulsivity is also triggered when our body doesn't produce enough serotonin. Other signs of a possible serotonin deficiency include loss of appetite, nausea, indigestion, and cravings for sugary and carbohydrate-rich foods. A serotonin deficiency may also have a negative impact on our sex life.
Serotonin and Depression
People who struggle with depression often have very low levels of serotonin. It is also suggested that, on average, women produce 52% less serotonin than men. Serotonin levels fluctuate with menstrual cycles, which may explain why women are more prone to feelings of depression or mood swings when they menstruate.
The WHO states:
Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
Our mood plays an important role in our health and longevity. This is another good reason to make sure our body produces enough serotonin.
Increase your serotonin with these 5 natural serotonin boosters!
The good news is that serotonin in the brain (and body) can be increased by eating the right foods and/or supplementing your diet. How can you ensure that your serotonin level increases, so that you no longer have a serotonin deficiency? Here you will find 5 natural serotonin boosters.
1. Natural serotonin booster: Daily exercise
Exercising directly increases serotonin in our brain. When dealing with serotonin deficiency, daily exercise is recommended. Several studies suggest that exercise is at least as effective as medication for serotonin deficiency. In some cases, exercise is even more effective. In addition, unlike medication, exercise has no negative side effects.
Exercise promotes a positive mood and physical health. Consistent daily physical activity is one of the best ways to increase our serotonin levels and overall brain health.
When we were hunter-gatherers and later got engaged in agriculture, we were exercising a lot, because of our lifestyle. Now, we spend most of our time in the office or on the couch. It is suggested that the high rates of depression of the modern age are related to this.
There's no need to become a bodybuilder to increase serotonin through exercise. 30-60 minutes of light intensity exercise daily may be sufficient. Do you lack the time (don't make the time) for sports or exercise? Take the stairs instead of the elevator and take the bike instead of the car. If you don't like to practice sports, there are other creative ways to exercise. For example, I get my daily exercise by dancing while cooking. Yoga is also one of my favorite serotonin boosters.
Would you like to know more about how and why exercise can help you when dealing with a serotonin deficiency? Here you will find more information with links to various studies.
2. Natural serotonin booster: the sun
If you're lacking sun or daylight, you might not only have a vitamin D, but also a serotonin deficiency, So make sure you are sufficiently exposed to daylight. Walking for half an hour, working in the garden or taking the bike instead of the car can make a world of difference. Generations ago, most of the world's population worked on the land every day, and therefore spent most of the day outside. As a result, people were exposed to daylight every day, even in winter.
So make sure your skin sees some sun or natural light every day! Even on a cloudy day, an hour outdoors can help increase our serotonin level.
3. Probiotics and Nutrition as natural serotonin boosters
Much of the serotonin in our body is produced in the gut. So gut health is important. We can improve our gut health by consuming the right food, and by avoiding food that has a negative impact on our gut.
Minimize eating products that are rich in simple carbohydrates such as pasta, potatoes, bread and cookies. On the one hand, this type of food stimulates the production of serotonin. But at the same time, this food makes our sugar level rise and this makes it extremely addictive, which impacts our brain negatively.
Therefore, foods with complex carbohydrates are recommended as natural serotonin boosters, such as sweet potato, apples, blueberries and carrots. Foods rich in L-tryptophan also increase our serotonin level, such as tempeh, beans, lentils, spinach, pumpkin, chia seeds and nuts. When we consume too little L-tryptophan, we can unconsciously develop mood problems ( Brain MD ).
The first step for a good intestinal flora is the right diet. Good quality probiotics can also contribute to a healthy intestinal flora.
4. Water as a natural serotonin booster
As humans, we are made up of more than 90% water. Water (H20) ensures that our brain and the rest of our body continues to work smoothly. Don't underestimate the effect of drinking enough water on your body and mind. Do you feel like yo're dealing with a serotonin deficiency? Make sure you drink enough water throughout the day. We need about one and a half to two liters of water per day. In warmer climates, even more.
Do you find it difficult to drink enough water during the day, or do you just forget to drink? Start the day with 2 large glasses of water for example, or take a water bottle with you to your work(place).
Supplements for increasing serotonin
Some dietary supplements aid the production and release of serotonin. They do this by increasing tryptophan. Are you looking for a serotonin-enhancing supplement that immediately improves mood and happiness? You might try a supplement that contains L-tryptophan. 5-HTP (Griffonia) is the direct precursor of serotonin, so a supplement with 5-HTP also helps you increase your serotonin level. Another well-known supplement to increase serotonin, is St. John's Wort.
!! Beware of Serotonin Syndrome!!
Be careful when trying supplements without consulting a doctor, especially when using medication. When our body produces too much serotonin, we can suffer from serotonin syndrome. This is a serious condition that can be life-threatening without treatment. For this reason, be careful with serotonin supplements if you are taking drugs that increase serotonin, such as antidepressants. Always discuss the use of natural serotonin pills in addition to medication with your doctor!
Increasing serotonin with medication
Certain medications can support the increase of serotonin. These include antidepressants (SSRIs), some anti-anxiety medications, medications against migraine, and some pain relievers, such as opioids like Tramadol) (WebMD). Would you like to increase your serotonin with medication? You might consider to try a natural supplement first. Supplements are often safer to use, and you experience fewer side effects. Also, supplements are often not addictive, unlike medication. A supplement with L-tryptophan or 5-HTP supports the body in enhancing serotonig.
Buy serotonin or support your body to increase serotonin?
A lot of people are searching for terms like “where to buy serotonin” or “buying serotonin” in Google. It might sound like the easiest solution: just take a pill, and our problems are solved. In my experience, for the long term, it's better to take responsibility for our own health, without depending too much on pills (medication or supplements). A supplement might support you temporarily. But in the end, we're perfectly capable of regulating our own body.