11 Ways To Increase The Serotonin In Your Brain

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11 Ways To Increase The Serotonin In Your Brain
Graphic: © herbs-info.com

Serotonin is a chemical produced by the brain – as a soothing neurotransmitter. Similar to endorphins and dopamine, it contributes to a feeling of happiness. It is important in facilitating a ‘good’ mood, proper deep sleep, and even the feeling of self-confidence.
People suffering from depression have been found to have decreased levels of serotonin. As such, finding ways to increase serotonin levels is important.

1. More Tryptophan: Research shows that a high-tryptophan diet could boost serotonin levels. [1] Consider eating protein-based foods like lean meats, eggs, and dairy products.

2. Get a Massage: Ever wonder why you feel so good, relaxed and happy after a proper massage? Not only do your tensed muscles ease up, but the serotonin levels tend to peak after a session. This is attributed to a reduction in the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. [2]

3. Boost your B-Vitamins Intake: While your physician should be consulted – especially to determine dosages – studies show that B vitamins improve serotonin levels. [3]

4. Get a Bit of Sun on You: We all know how good we feel after soaking up some sunlight. Apparently, there is a link between sunshine on human skin and serotonin levels. [4]

5. Magnesium: Magnesium deficiency is associated with low levels of serotonin. [5] With this in mind, add leafy greens, fish, bananas, and beans to your diet for more magnesium.

6. Positivity goes a Long Way: Doing things that make you feel good is key!

7. Reduce your Sugar Intake: Mood crashes are brought on by excessive consumption of sugar, no matter how good it feels at first. A study in the Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences concluded that “sugar-rich diet-induced greater decreases of serotonin.” [6]

8. Meditation: Meditation is believed to stimulate 5-HIAA, which is a precursor to serotonin production. There have been several studies linking mindful meditation to an increase in serotonin levels. [7]

9. Exercise More Often: A pumping heart is always good for your serotonin levels – as evidenced by scientific research. [8]

10. Vitamin C: Some studies suggest that a dose of vitamin C (e.g. from citrus fruits) could elevate your moods. [9] Vitamin C is widely hailed for its anti-depressant properties.

11. Self-Care: According to a study in the Journal of Psychiatric Neuroscience, self-reported satisfaction and self-care affect serotonin levels. [10]

Please note that this content should never be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.


[1] Jenkins T. et al. 2016. Influence of Tryptophan and Serotonin on Mood and Cognition with a Possible Role of the Gut-Brain Axis https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4728667/.

[2] Field, T. et al. 2005. Cortisol decreases and serotonin and dopamine increase following massage therapy. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16162447.

[3] Kennedy, D. 2016. B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy—A Review https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4772032/.

[4] Sansone, R. et a. 2013. Sunshine, Serotonin, and Skin: A Partial Explanation for Seasonal Patterns in Psychopathology? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3779905/.

[5] Magnesium and major depression https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507265/.

[6] Inam QU. et al. 2016. Effects of sugar rich diet on brain serotonin, hyperphagia and anxiety in animal model of both genders. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27166525.

[7] Young, S. 2011. Biologic effects of mindfulness meditation: growing insights into neurobiologic aspects of the prevention of depression https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3044190/.

[8] Heijnen, S. 2015. Neuromodulation of Aerobic Exercise—A Review https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4703784/.

[9] Lee L. et al. 2001. Effect of supplementation of vitamin E and vitamin C on brain acetylcholinesterase activity and neurotransmitter levels in rats treated with scopolamine, an inducer of dementia. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11814146.

[10] Young, S. 2007. How to increase serotonin in the human brain without drugs https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2077351/.

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11 Ways To Increase The Serotonin In Your Brain
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