Natural Ways to Increase Serotonin

The neurotransmitter serotonin has long been implicated in mood and other psychiatric disorders, and people looking to improve their mental health are often interested in ways they can alter their brain's serotonin levels. Commonly prescribed antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs boost the availability of serotonin in the brain, but are there more natural ways to increase brain levels of serotonin?

Exercise

Exercise is one of the easiest and most healthy ways to naturally boost serotonin levels. Regular exercise can help increase serotonin levels immediately, and also work to improve them over the long-term.

Tryptophan

Serotonin is produced from the amino acid L-tryptophan, which is found in a number of foods and in a common supplement known as 5-HTP. Tryptophan is found in high-protein foods, but eating only protein actually will not boost serotonin levels as much as eating tryptophan-containing protein in combination with complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates can also provide a quick boost to serotonin levels, but only for a short time.

Vitamins

Vitamin B6 is required for serotonin production, so it is important to make sure you're taking in enough of this important nutrient. Other B vitamins, such as B12 and folic acids, also seem to play a role in mood and serotonin production.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Some research has linked omega-3 fatty acids to improvement in mood and anxiety, and it may play a role in serotonin metabolism and functionality in the brain. Omega-3s can be found in a variety of foods or taken as a supplement.

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