Along with many other neurotransmitters like endorphins and and dopamine, the level of serotonin that is created by your brain and body is important for mood, sleep, appetite and social engagement.
Interestingly enough, it seems as though this neurotransmitter isn’t only produced in the brain, but also in the gut. This particular neurotransmitter is what promotes those feelings of happiness and well being within us, and many conditions like anxiety and depression are found to be associated with low levels of this neurotransmitter.
Some ways in which we can naturally release some of this serotonin;
🤸♂️ Exercise – Research suggests that positive mood in people is a high indicator of physical health. Getting exercise boosts serotonin in the brain, with some studies finding that it can be just as effective as serotonin enhancing medications, such as SSRIs.
🦠 Probiotics – Most of the serotonin produced in your body is from the gut. Probiotics are microorganisms that live within your gut and serve as a benefit to things like digestive health, reducing depression and protecting your immune system. Yoghurts, kombucha, pickles, miso and kefir are just a few food products that contain probiotics that can serve your gut well, particularly in the case of serotonin production.
🍏 The natural amino acid building block for serotonin is called tryptophan. A healthy source of this amino acid can be found in foods such as chicken, eggs, beans and pumpkin seeds.
💊 Natural supplements such as vitamins B6, B12, and folate, as well as concentrates of saffron, can help support healthy serotonin levels.
I have been taking SSRI medication for many years now, and I would like to think that one day I can go without them. The worrying thing for me is, after many years of use, they can start to change the brain in such a way that it can be extremely difficult to reverse this dependency.
However, with the right lifestyle choices, there are ways in which people with low levels of serotonin can increase these levels without the use of medicine. This shines a new light on mental illness and how professionals are finding new ways to approach some of these more pressing issues around the human brain and mind.