Serotonin if found throughout the body and acts as a neurotransmitter. Located in the brain, the lining of the intestines, and in blood platelets, it serves several different functions. Although it is mostly known for enhancing your mood, it also allows you to fall asleep. It allows the brain to slow down so that the body can relax. It also curbs food cravings and triggers the sensation of feeling full.
When serotonin levels are low, you may suffer from depression or other bipolar disorders. Low serotonin levels are often associated with mental illness and may play a role in certain eating disorders. There are ways to boost serotonin levels without using strong medications that may cause adverse side effects.
Causes of Low Levels of Serotonin
Several things can cause your serotonin levels to drop. The use of pesticides or toxic chemicals as part of your job are common causes. Both prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications can cause damage to nerve pathways that are involved in the production of serotonin. Hormone imbalances and lack of sunlight are also causes.
There are several signs that are attributed to low serotonin levels. They include:
Having one or more of these symptoms on a regular basis can indicate a drop in your serotonin levels.
Many people don't realize there is a problem until someone else points out the changes in their behavior. There are times when things happen and events begin to snowball around you. When this happens, anxiety takes over and can cause you to behave out of character. There are things you can do to gradually reset your body's internal balance and gradually elevate your mood.
Increasing Serotonin and Dopamine Naturally
There are several ways you can increase your serotonin and dopamine levels naturally without having to rely on medications.
One of the easiest ways is to spend some time out in the sunshine. Recharging your body with a healthy dose of Vitamin D can jump-start the production of serotonin and elevate your mood. Breathing in the fresh air doesn't hurt either
Whether you take a walk outside or burn a few calories during a cardio session, releases endorphins in the brain. It also increases your body's production of serotonin and dopamine. Getting a deep tissue massage also works. A 60-minute, deep tissue massage provides a lot of the same benefits as a 30 to a 40-minute workout session.
Meditation and a good night's sleep are two of the best ways to naturally elevate serotonin levels. Stress can play a role in depleting vital chemicals within the brain. Relaxing through meditation and deep sleep are great ways to reset that delicate balance. Not only does it relax you, when you wake up the next morning you are invigorated and ready to take on the day.
Different Vitamins That Help With Serotonin Levels
Your diet plays a huge role in stabilizing and maintaining your serotonin levels. B complex vitamins are essential for good brain health. Combined with the amino acids, these two powerhouses create a chain that is strongest when all of the links are present. Always make sure that all the B vitamins and amino acids are present if you take a B complex supplement.
It is extremely important when talking about healthy brain function.
Spending just a few minutes a day out in the sun will give your body what it needs to produce all of the Vitamin D your body will require for the day.
Our body also needs Omega 3 fatty acids to sustain good heart and brain health. They work by fighting cholesterol allowing the blood to carry more usable oxygen and nutrients.
Omega 3 aids in the production of essential hormones and chemicals throughout the body that regulates both mood and metabolism.
Magnesium & Zinc
Magnesium & Zinc work together to heal damaged nerves and tissues throughout the body. As these pathways start to be repaired, the production of these vital chemicals will increase.
The more the chemicals are produced, the better your mood and the more positive your outlook.
Foods That Contain the Most Serotonin
When it comes to serotonin levels, many of your favorite foods can help. Salmon and certain types of seafood are excellent sources of Omega 3-fatty acids. Meats, legumes, eggs, and whole grains are all excellent sources of Vitamin B. Dark leafy greens, seeds, and nuts are great sources of vitamins and minerals as well as healthy fats.
How you prepare your foods is just as important as what type of foods you eat. Cooking and processing foods can destroy vital nutrients. Eating foods that are as fresh as possible is the best way to get the most nutritive value out of every type of food you eat. Basically, the longer a food is cooked or processed, the fewer nutrients it has.
One way to get all of the nutrients you need is to create a “diet rainbow”. Every color of the rainbow can be associated with a specific vitamin/mineral. Reds and oranges, for example, are good sources of Vitamins A and C. Green foods are often full of fiber and chlorophyll that aids in digestion. Blueberries and eggplants are full of Vitamin B, while bananas contain potassium.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Grains provide the foundation for many diets because of their complex nature. They are designed to be digested slowly to provide a steady flow of energy. This helps to keep you active during periods of exercise. Many grains are full of Vitamin B, so they boost brain function and increase the production of serotonin and dopamine.
When it comes to your diet, including as many fresh fruits and vegetables as possible will ensure you get a good start on your recommended daily allowances of vitamins and minerals. To compensate for what is lacking, look for a natural supplement that will provide you with what you need without the extra additives and preservatives. Take your time and read the labels so you know that you are getting a product made from natural sources.
Maintaining Proper Serotonin Levels
It can be difficult with all of the chemicals we have in our environment. Everything we are exposed to affects how our body functions. Our activities also play a role. When you have to spend your day inside while you are working, your body is deprived of the sunshine it needs to thrive. For some of us who are limited on time, exercise may not seem possible. This is where you need to make the decision to play an active role in your health.
Doctors can give you advice and personal trainers can guide you through exercise routines, but none of this matters if you won't take the initiative to do the work for yourself. Try a new recipe. Explore your diet options. Include a new exercise. And lastly, look up! Embrace the sunshine and take positive steps to improve your outlook. You can't see the light of day if you are looking through blinders. Take the first step toward a healthier you. Once your body starts to come back into balance, things will look brighter and your life will once again be your own to enjoy.
The Diet Fitness King Team is a team of 6 people lead by the founder Greg Davis. We have all different levels of experiences and credentials in the health field and our goal is to provide people the highest quality information available. Everything we put out is well researched and we have a lot of passion and pride behind this! Please let us know if you find any incorrect information on our website or feel free to contact us with feedback in general.