Serotonin or serotonin level is a chemical messenger that affects many functions within the body and brain. It is a neurotransmitter that is involved in many processes. The hormone is known for promoting good sleep by regulating circadian rhythm, appetite, promoting learning and memory, promoting positive feelings and prosocial behavior.
To increase serotonin levels, you should exercise regularly, improve your diet, get more light, try massage therapy, and use certain supplements. There are many theories about the role of serotonin in the brain. A widespread Trusted Source idea is that serotonin contributes to brain networks that regulate stress and anxiety. The chemical may also promote patience and the ability to cope.
To increase serotonin levels:
Several common antidepressant medications directly increase serotonin levels in the brain. Selective serotonin re uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a class of antidepressant medication that prevents serotonin from reabsorption in the brain. By doing this, these drugs increase the levels of serotonin available to receptors.
Exercise has a substantial effect on the brain and body, both in the short- and long-term. There is some evidence that muscle activation during exercise allows more tryptophan, which the body converts to serotonin, to cross the blood-brain barrier. Most of the evidence for exercise increasing serotonin comes from animal studies, though there are some examples in humans.
Foods that contain tryptophan could increase serotonin production in the body. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid in many foods, including:
Seasonal effective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression in which the symptoms correlate with the seasons. People with this condition may experience depressive symptoms during the winter when there is less sunlight. The causes of SAD are unclear, but one theory is that poor sun exposure during the winter causes lower serotonin levels. These lead to symptoms of depression. Light therapy is a treatment for the disorder that may increase serotonin levels. A 2015 studyTrusted Source found that light therapy can increase serotonin levels in people with SAD.
Certain supplements can quickly boost serotonin levels by increasing tryptophan, the amino acid that you can get from the foods listed above. It’s always important to check in with a doctor before taking any supplements, especially if you also take prescription medication. Winsberg says you should not take these supplements if you’re already on antidepressants like SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
There are many ways to increase serotonin levels naturally. From food and light to massages and supplements, a happier mood may be just one simple step away. However, you should begin consulting a doctor when depressive symptoms become moderate or severe.