Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, that plays an important role in “how you feel”, and also regulates various activities such as sleep, mood, sexual health, memory, etc.
If a person doesn’t have enough Serotonin levels in the brain, that leads to feeling negative, depressed, sleepless, and irritable.
So it became vital to increase serotonin levels without any medications because drugs may also cause side effects, which can be both physically and mentally.
Here are the top 8 ways to increase serotonin levels naturally without any medication consumption which include:
Bright light therapy
Light therapy sometimes called phototherapy, involves exposing the patients to artificial light, during the Winter season to reduce seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a mental disorder, lack of sun exposure triggers hormones like serotonin and melatonin, (a mood controller) causes SAD.
This therapy primarily treats mental disorders such as depression, Seasonal affective disoder (SAD), as well as treats diseases, like jaundice, skin conditions, etc.
Overall, bright light therapy increase serotonin level in the brain which leads to feeling good.
NOTE: Also people who have a history of skin cancer, eye disease, cataract, and people who used photosensitizing medications, should avoid bright light therapy.
Diet plays an essential role in brain serotonin.
Here is a certain food that you should add to your diet to increase serotonin levels these include:
Banana: It is recommended that bananas contain serotonin, which is true, and it does not cross the blood-brain barrier.
Corn: Cross-national studies reported that corn consumption is negatively associated with dietary tryptophan and suicide rates (7).
Chickpeas: Kerem and colleagues’ studies showed tryptophan content in both chickpeas and domestic chickpeas (8).
Studies believe that certain foods such as bananas, probiotics, etc can really increase serotonin levels (9).
Diet contains several nutrients, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Research has shown these multiple times that patients who suffer from a mental disorder are a severity of deficiency in these nutrients.
The study suggests that cortisol levels that are often high in depression have decreased by applying moderate pressure massage.
A study showed that serotonin levels are increased by massage therapy and are also correlated with decreased cortisol and depression (10).
The massage was more effective than simple touch for immediate pain relief and mood shifts.
A 2004 study conducted on 84 pregnant women with depression, showed that women who took 20 min massage to the same person twice a week feel less anxious and depressed.
Also showed a higher serotonin level after 16 weeks of massage.
In depressed patients, daily consumption of dietary supplements of omega-3 fatty acids that contain EPA has been shown to stimulate mood elevation.
Supplements that contain amino acids found that are converted into neurotransmitters which in turn reduce depression and other mental health problems (11).
Here are the most common supplements such as:
- The herbal supplement which is natural
- Prescription medications
- Essential vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids supplements (14)
NOTE: Before trying any new supplement, talk to your doctor, especially if you are in any medical condition.
Regular exercise or physical activity is one of the best way or alternative ways among medicines to increase serotonin levels naturally.
It is clearly said that serotonin levels are increased by doing exercises.
Multiple studies review the deep relationship between exercise and mood evaluation showing that exercise act as an antidepressant and have anxiolytic effects (15).
A study where rats are included showed that exercises increased tryptophan and 5-HIAA in rat ventricles (16).
The most consistent effect of increased serotonin is seen when regular exercise undertook aerobic exercise at a level with which they are familiar (17)
Aerobic exercises such as:
A study found an 8 week of meditation program showed profound positive changes in brain regions associated with learning, memory processing, and emotion regulation in people.
NOTE: Here are step by step ways that tell you how to meditate – for beginners
1. Choose place: Choose a relatively silent place with minimum distraction which will keep your focus on the path.
2. Sit position: Sit on Dhyaan mudra also known as samadhi which is the best posture to meditate, if you can’t concentrate, start with saying “Om”
Take a comfortable seat, not in bed, on the floor with a mat.
3. Close your mind: When you’re ready gently close your eyes. take a moment and notice any sounds in the environment. notice your thought and emotions.
4. Focus on breathing: Most important part of meditation, focus on breathing, don’t think about anything else, just breathe in, and breathe out.
NOTE: Meditation doesn’t cure depression, but it can help you with it.
The lowered mood is one of the major symptoms of depression, which affects approximately 20% of the world’s population (20).
In a study where healthy candidates, a low prolactin response to the serotonin-releasing drug was allied with the metabolic syndrome, which can increase the risk of heart disease.
Low prolactin (if a person has low prolactin this means their pituitary gland isn’t working very well) (23).
Here are many ways to improve mood which include:
- Thinking about old memories or your goal makes you feel good and motivated, which increases serotonin, and helps in the fight against depression.
- Take enough sleep
- spend time in nature
- Trip plan
- Listen to songs
- Spend time with your loved ones
NOTE: Always remember that our mind is very unique and complex, which is easily changed by engaging in any process, so make your mind strong to fight against any situation.
Things that decrease serotonin level
Here are certain things that you should avoid because they may decrease the level of serotonin in the brain which include:
- Smoking frequently increases dopamine and serotonin level, but during withdrawal, the stage makes the condition worse.
- Excessive sugar or artificial sugar
Serotonin is made in the brain, but 80 to 90% is mostly found in the digestive system, also in blood platelets, and all over the central nervous system (24).
Bright light therapy acts as a natural sun and makes us feel good by triggering the increasing production of serotonin (a good feeling hormone) in our brain.