From improving your mood to promoting smooth digestion and balancing your mental health, Serotonin is a neurotransmitter aka the messenger of the brain which helps regulate all the above-mentioned things.
Serotonin is the happy hormone that you need to keep your levels up throughout the day. A serotonin deficiency can lead to fluctuating mental health, decreased efficiency levels and increased anxiety. Hence, it is really important for us to maintain our Serotonin levels.
How does serotonin deficiency happen?
Serotonin deficiency takes place in our body when it doesn’t have or perform enough serotonin activity. The reasons for this can be several and it is often associated with a wide range of physical and psychological symptoms.
The psychological symptoms induced as a result of serotonin deficiency include increased anxiety levels, frequent depressed mood, severe aggression and impulsive behaviour, loss of sleep, irritable nature, low self-esteem, reduced appetite and decreased memory span.
Whereas, the physiological symptoms include eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder or/and social anxiety disorder.
There are ways on how to increase serotonin. Here are the five of them which can help increase your serotonin and serotonin rich foods-
1. Food items: Food can be one of those indirect ways to aid your serotonin levels, but, you can’t get serotonin directly from foods. But, what you can get is tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that your brain converts to serotonin. It is primarily found in protein-rich foods and here are some of the foods to aid those serotonin levels the right way.
a) Salmon- Salmon is a protein-rich source of tryptophan which converts to serotonin. Additionally, it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that are extremely beneficial for the skin, heart, and bones. It also contains Vitamin D to aid in serotonin production.
b) Nuts and Seeds- Nuts and seeds are great sources of tryptophan and protein and the apt. replacement of Salmon for the vegetarian population.
c) Turkey and Poultry- Turkey and poultry are meat full of tryptophan and good protein and the tryptophan in the turkey definitely helps with good feelings when consumed.
d) Eggs – Eggs are a powerhouse of protein and are a healthy snack full of tryptophan that can increase your serotonin levels
e) Tofu and Soy- Made of soy and full of tryptophan, Tofu is a great food if you are looking to increase your serotonin levels Recently, Soy Milks have become popular as a popular source of tryptophan and serotonin for vegans and vegetarians.
2. Exercise: Exercising is a great way to get those serotonin levels high as it triggers the release of tryptophan into our blood and decreases the level of other amino acids thus creating an ideal environment for more tryptophan to reach our brain.
Some good exercises that you can take up to get those serotonin pumping are swimming, bicycling, brisk walking, jumping rope, or any other aerobic exercise that keeps your heart pumping.
3. Seeking the sun: Research from trusted sources conclude that spending time in the sun has appeared to help boost serotonin levels since it tends to be higher in the summer and the fall season.
Hence, spending some good time on your balcony or terrace might be a good way to help your body produce serotonin. To expand their sunlight exposure time, people can talk long walks daily, or take up a physical activity that requires them going out in the sun or might even just relax on a beach on a sunny day.
4. Supplement dosage: Some dietary supplements might help kickstart serotonin production, all thanks to its capability of being able to increase tryptophan levels.
It is wise to choose products that are manufactured by trusted producers and can guarantee the promised level of efficiency and purity. Some supplements that are safe for consumption include Pure tryptophan, SAMe (S-adenosyl-L-methionine), 5-HTP, St. John’s wort, and probiotics.
5. Lifting up your mood: Some research from trusted sources suggest that lifting up our mood can help increase our serotonin levels as extreme serotonin deficiency can have a negative impact on our brains. Inducting your brain to be happy by thinking about something that makes you elated can work a big deal in increasing serotonin in your brain which helps promote an improved mood.
Try visualizing a happy moment from your life, think about a lovely time you had with your loved ones or even consider looking at photos of things that matter to you and make you happy, such as your pet, a favourite place, or your parents.
When is it important to seek help?
Some people tend to naturally have lower serotonin levels due to their body’s chemistry and unfortunately, there isn’t much that can be done about this. This is the moment where you should consider seeking help since lower serotonin levels can have extremely adverse effects on your mood levels.
If you feel that your symptoms are becoming overwhelming and are starting to impact your daily life, consider reaching out for support from a therapist. Depending on the level of your symptoms, the therapist might prescribe you a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) or some different antidepressant. SSRIs are known to prevent our brain from reabsorbing the serotonin that it releases and this leads to the availability of greater levels for our body’s usage.
Serotonin is an extremely important neurotransmitter known to affect our physical health, mental health and emotional well-being to a great extent. Serotonin deficiency has been proven to lead to severe mental health issues like increased anxiety levels, frequent depressed mood, severe aggression and impulsive behaviour, loss of sleep, irritable nature, low self-esteem, reduced appetite, decreased memory span, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, eating disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder or/and social anxiety disorder etc.
Hence, it is really important to keep your serotonin deficiency at check. A serotonin deficiency or imbalance can, at times, mean something more serious.
It’s advisable and important to pay attention to the signals and seek the help of our doctors in case of any concerns. Remember, better late than sorry folks!