Serotonin is one of the many neurotransmitters in your body that have multiple roles. It is critical to enhancing the function of your brain, which regulates how you feel and behave, and it is also important to your overall health.
The production of serotonin depends heavily on how much vitamin B and tryptophan, an amino acid, are available in your system. If your body is not producing enough serotonin, which can happen for many different reasons, you may begin to exhibit symptoms like depression, insomnia, cognitive impairment, headaches and mood swings. However, there are some steps you can take to naturally increase the serotonin in your body.
1. Increase Your Vitamin B Intake
All of the B vitamins have crucial roles in converting tryptophan into serotonin. A deficiency in folic acid, or vitamin B9 (MTHF), will result in low serotonin levels. There are also multiple studies that show that there are links between deficiencies in vitamins B6 and B12 and a decline in serotonin levels. You can enhance your vitamin B levels by taking all-natural supplements or by receiving vitamin injections, like the vitamin B6, B12, B9 (MTHF) injections we offer at Prime Wellness.
2. Manage Your Stress Levels
Stress is a natural part of life, but the mental, emotional and physical ways in which your body responds to changes in your environment can have a toll on your health if your stress is not properly managed. When you are under stress, your body will increase its production of cortisol, the stress hormone, and reduce the production of serotonin and other important neurotransmitters, Prime Wellness does neurotransmitter testing and can help guide you through any neurotransmitter imbalance you may be experiencing.
Your body is not meant to endure continuous stress and will react with headaches, high blood pressure, digestive problems, difficulty sleeping and chest pains. Chronic stress may also make you more likely develop certain diseases, like diabetes. While it is nearly impossible to avoid stressful situations, you do have control over how you respond to them. You should make de-stressing a daily part of your life. Whether it is taking a daily walk, reading a book or practicing yoga, you should do what you can to limit the effects of stress on your body.
3. Get a Good Massage
Having a good massage can help you relax and can improve your blood circulation. You will be able to enjoy a professional massage even more knowing that it can also increase the production of serotonin. According to the results of one study that was published in the International Journal of Neuroscience, a massage can boost serotonin levels by 28 percent and dopamine levels by 31 percent, even as it decreases the levels of cortisol by 31 percent.
4. Exercise Regularly
It is no coincidence that living a sedentary lifestyle is associated with depression, which in turn is associated with low levels of serotonin. Engaging in exercise on a regular basis is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Not only can being physically active can help you lose weight and keep if off, it can also increase your serotonin levels. The motor activity used during exercise increases the frequency at which serotonin is released in your brain, which causes an increase in the production and release of serotonin. Another benefit of exercise is that it prompts your brain to produce more tryptophan.
5. Get Enough Sleep
While you may routinely stay up late to catch up on work, doing so can gradually lower the serotonin levels in your brain. Getting a good night’s sleep, typically six to eight hours, is necessary to having the sufficient serotonin levels, combatting stress and avoiding certain health complications that can result from sleep deprivation. In order to have restful, quality sleep, it is important that you are asleep for a certain amount of time and on a consistent basis. If you are having difficulty establishing a sleep pattern, try to train your body by establishing a nighttime routine before going to bed at the same time every night, avoid blue light from your electronic devices, and set your alarm to wake up at the same time every morning. Prime Wellness offers a variety of supplements to help with sleep including Magnesium Glycinate from Metagenics and our practitioners can help you find the one that best suites your needs.
Eating well is necessary for all of the processes in your body. However, you should make sure that your diet includes foods that contain high levels of the amino acid tryptophan and limit the account of caffeine you consume as it has been known to suppress serotonin production. Eggs, cheese, pineapple, tofu, salmon, nuts, seeds and turkey all have high levels of tryptophan. Your diet should also be high in fiber to boost the healthy gut bacteria, or probiotics, which can also impact serotonin levels through the biochemical signals that sent between the central nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract. You can take probiotic supplements, like Metagenics’ UltraFlora Balance, to get the probiotics you need.