Serotonin is an important substance in the body, it acts as a neurotransmitter and as a hormone in the body. If someone lacks serotonin, various health problems can arise. Among them are parkinsonism, intestines, mood disorders, and a number of other diseases. So, maintaining serotonin levels always in normal conditions is a way to prevent various diseases. For this reason, it is important that serotonin levels are always normal, here are some foods that can naturally increase serotonin. But before that, we need to know first what is serotonin?
What is Serotonin?
Serotonin is a monoamine neurotransmitter and an important hormone in the human body that controls the health of the brain and intestines. If serotonin in the body decreases, the health of the brain and intestines will be disrupted.
More details, serotonin plays a role in daily behavior such as a role in appetite, emotions, cognitive, circadian rhythms, and unconscious nervous system. In the body, there are special proteins that deactivate serotonin (reuptake transporters). It takes the excess serotonin released by the brain and intestines.
In the human body, serotonin is produced and stored in enterochromaffin cells that are in the intestinal lining. Serotonin is also related to nausea, digestive movements, blood vessel dilation, and mucus secretion. Decreased serotonin is associated with pain in the large intestine.
Bipolar disorder can be disrupted when a person experiences an imbalance of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. So, mood disorders and others do not occur only because of a lack of serotonin but also because there are deficiencies in the other two neurotransmitters.
Because the presence of serotonin is very important, we will share ways to increase serotonin naturally.
How to Increase Serotonin Level Naturally
Serotonin is made in 5-HTP and it is made by L-tryptophan. So if there is an increase in L-tryptophan, it will automatically increase plasma serotonin which in turn improves cognitive, motor and cure various intestinal problems.
Alpha-Lactalbumin is one type of protein in milk, containing more tryptophan compared to other proteins. An in-depth study (DB-RCT) involving 18 people showed that 12 grams of alpha-Lactalbumin were able to increase the amount of tryptophan in blood plasma by up to 16%.
In another study showed that 12.32 grams of tryptophan were able to increase blood tryptophan by 43% after just 1.5 hours. He also increased the memory of 23 sympathizers who tend to experience high stress.
Another way to increase serotonin is by taking probiotics. The role of probiotics indigestion is to restore the intestinal microbiome which affects interaction with the brain. Intestinal bacteria are important organisms because one of their functions is to produce tryptophan, the raw material for serotonin formation. Some health problems such as Parkinson’s disease, mental health is strongly associated with lack and lack of bacteria in the intestine.
According to the results of the study (DB-RTC), a trial of probiotics for 8 weeks (2.0 x 109 CFU/g of Lactobacillus helveticus and 2.0 x 109 CFU/g of Bifidobacterium longum) was able to increase the amount of tryptophan. This study involved 110 people who were depressed. So, increasing tryptophan levels causes increased serotonin.
In addition, there is another probiotic called Bifidobacteria infantis, this type of probiotic is given to mice for 14 days. As a result, the mice experienced an increase in the amount of tryptophan in the blood.
3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids along with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), help neurons release serotonin and their activity in increasing the sensitivity of serotonin receptors. All you have to do is consume foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon and trout. In addition, you can also take omega-3 supplements sold on the market, usually in the form of fish oil capsules.
DHA, vitamin D, and EPA work fully to keep serotonin levels normal. The inadequacy of omega-3s allows for the occurrence of psychiatric diseases including depression. In a study (DB-RCT) involving 49 psychiatric patients who had repeatedly injured themselves, they were given 1.2 grams of EPA and 0.9 grams of DHA for 12 weeks. The results were very pleasant, they experienced a reduction in the thought of wanting to kill themselves by 45% and reducing depression by 30%.
While in a study conducted in Japan of 256,118 participants, in this study it was noted that those who diligently consume fish every day experience a reduction in suicidal thoughts compared to patients who do not eat fish every day. This is in line with an observation in Finland of 1.767 people who experienced psychosis, people who consumed fish less than twice a week had a higher risk of suicidal diseases compared to those who diligently consumed fish.
Likewise with the research conducted in mice. Mice that lack intake of omega-3 fatty acids are associated with low serotonin activity. While DHA tends to have an impact on brain serotonin. So, DHA deficiency in children can cause brain serotonin deficiency.
4. Vitamin D
Furthermore, the way to increase serotonin is by adequate intake of vitamin D. The benefits of vitamin D are making serotonin, releasing and using serotonin in the brain. Vitamin D is not related to serotonin in the intestine, it only functions to manage serotonin in the brain. Therefore, the amount of brain serotonin is very dependent on vitamin D levels in the body. If someone is deficient in vitamin D, the amount of serotonin in the brain also decreases and he often experiences mental health problems.
A study involving 9,114 participants provided information that getting vitamin D early in human life (in childhood) could have a positive effect on reducing schizophrenia by 77%. It means, preventing vitamin D deficiency early in life is very good for reducing the risk of schizophrenia in the old life.
5. St. John’s Wort
This is not the name of a person, but the name of a plant that has the scientific language Hypericum perforatum. This plant is used as an anti-depression, certainly for mild depression. Why St. Can John’s Wort treat depression? This plant can increase serotonin in the brain, this is exactly the same as what happens in anti-depression. Naun, this John’s Wort plant has fewer side effects.
Based on research in 6993 patients who were depressed, this plant worked better than a placebo.
6. Vitamin B
Vitamin B is a type of vitamin that is important for health. If the body does not get enough vitamin B, the body will experience a problem called mental health disorder. Vitamin B6 is needed by the body because it acts as a producer of neurotransmitters like serotonin. So, vitamin B is important to act as a cofactor enzyme.
Besides vitamin B6, there are vitamins12 and B9. Both of them are needed by the body for processing folate, this folate serves to convert tryptophan to serotonin.
7. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is also useful for serotonin. A serotonin study revealed that vitamin C supplements given to mice for 6 weeks turned out to increase serotonin in the rat brain.
8. Vitamin E
Furthermore, how to increase serotonin is to consume foods rich in vitamin E or vitamin E supplements. Taking vitamin E supplements for 8 weeks or about 2 months can boost serotonin in mice that are injured in the spinal cord.
9. Zinc and magnesium
Zinc and magnesium also include minerals that can increase serotonin, both of which function as anti-depressants. The source of zinc is from foods such as red meat, whole grains, and oysters. While the source of magnesium is in green vegetables, nuts and legumes and several other types of food.
In several observations, it was found that zinc levels in the blood of individuals who experienced depression were low compared to zinc levels in the blood of people who did not experience depression. So, one alternative to getting zinc supplies is to take zinc supplements regularly. Ask your doctor if you want to use this method.
Also read: Health Benefits of Cloves
While magnesium is a mineral that adds serotonin by reducing reuptake in the brain. Taking magnesium supplements regularly can also increase your serotonin. But for consumption doses, please consult a doctor.
L-theanine, this is an amino acid that is useful for increasing your amount of serotonin. Bias, these amino acids are obtained from green tea leaves, black tea, or in Oolong tea.
Research on 42,093 Japanese people. In this study, they were only given green tea every day as many as 5 cups or more. Those who drank tea experienced fewer psychological turmoil compared to those who were not given green tea.
Research in mice shows that consuming L-theanine is useful for increasing serotonin in the rat brain.
Turmeric is a popular spice with curcumin content. One of the functions of curcumin is to extend the active period of serotonin in the brain, as the results of research in mice. In addition, curcumin is also useful for cognition and decreases serum corticosterone in mice. Research using one dose of curcumin around 10-80 mg/kg can increase the amount of serotonin.
12. The Velvet Bean
From seeds are beans called Mucuna pruriens, otherwise known as “velvet bean”. Velvet nuts can treat Parkinson’s even stronger strength compared to healing using the standard method (levodopa) in mice with Parkinson’s.
Saffron which in scientific language is called Crocus Sativus contains a substance called safranal. Safranol is useful for increasing serotonin in the brain, the way it is done is by inhibiting reuptake.
Data from a study of 177 participants concluded that taking saffron capsules as much as 30 mg per day can relieve symptoms of depression in adults if done for six or eight weeks.
Psychedelic is a hallucinogenic drug that is useful for increasing serotonin activity. The way Psychedelics works are to bind directly to serotonergic receptors and add the amount of serotonin.
There are things to watch out for when consuming Psychedelics. If the use is wrong, it causes serious psychological consequences. For that, users must ask for instructions from a doctor who is an expert in their field.
Rhodiola Rosea is a flowering plant that can cure anxiety and depression. In a clinical trial of 89 participants who experienced mild to mid-depression and their serotonin count was low. Rhodiola Rosea extracts given is 340 mg/day and 680 mg/day for 42 days regularly. Astonishing results because Rhodiola can reduce depression and emotional illness.
Clinical trials like this have also been done in 70 stressed rats, the result is stress levels can be lowered from each mouse.
16. Essential Oils
The next way to increase serotonin is to consume essential oils. Usually, the use of essential oils is to reduce anxiety, bad mood, stress, and other mental health disorders. How to consume essential oils is to kiss or breathe them. Essential oils can activate clogged pathways in the brain and stimulate increased serotonin and dopamine in the brain.
A study of essential oils in 60 geriatric patients who were depressed. The essential oil used is 5 ml consisting of lavender oil, lime oil, bergamot, oil, and almonds. The application of essential oils is enough twice a week. Do it for up to 8 weeks.
Also read: Best Honeysuckle Essential Oil
Other studies of Ylang-ylang essential oils in mice. Applications in mice are known to increase serotonin levels as well.
Kava is a shrub plant, still similar to pepper. This plant contains the same compounds as serotonin. kava is useful for reducing anxiety and it also has the potential to increase your serotonin levels.
A study involved 40 participants from among those who experienced anxiety. They are given 50 mg to 300 mg every day, the results can improve symptoms of anxiety.
The roots of Valerian plants are also known to increase serotonin and increase their activity. The way it works is by reducing turnover. Another benefit of valerian is treating intestinal irritation. In research on mice, valerian roots were known to be able to balance serotonin in the intestine.
Passionflower is also called Passiflora, the flower is very amazing because it contains tryptamine. This substance can be converted into serotonin. In experiments conducted on mice, passionflower gave the effect of St. John’s Wort.
Apigenin is a nutrient in citrus fruits that can improve cognition and can reduce symptoms of depression and stress. Research conducted on rats for 20 days by giving apigenin as much as 10-20mg/kg can boost serotonin, improve treatment and eliminate anxiety.
The benefits of apigenin are increasing serotonin availability so that it reduces stress and anxiety.
22. Holy Basil
Research in mice, holy basil can increase brain serotonin and reduce the risk of stress in mice. The amount of serotonin given is 40 mg/kg holy basil.
Mental disorders such as bipolar disorder can be treated with lithium. Results in animal experiments show that Lithium increases serotonin release from the hippocampus. This is the most important part of the brain for memory.
List of Foods That Increase Serotonin
Tryptophan is not produced by the body freely, to get a supply of Tryptophan, one must consume certain foods. Based on recent research, consuming foods high in tryptophan may not necessarily increase brain serotonin levels.
Tryptophan to get to the brain, it must compete with other amino acids in the blood vessels. However, tryptophan-rich foods such as meats, fruits, dairy, vegetables, seeds, and high-carbohydrate foods can increase tryptophan in plasma rather than in the brain.
Lifestyle Changes to Increase Serotonin
Apart from the above methods, serotonin can also be improved by changing your lifestyle.
23. Stress Reduction
During stress, the body secretes a hormone called cortisol. The release of this hormone causes a decrease in serotonin levels. But if too much cortisol can also experience psychiatric disorders. So, the best way is to balance cortisol levels in the body so that serotonin increases.
High levels of cortisol or high stress can reduce the amount of serotonin in the body. In studies of brain cells and body immunity, too high cortisol can cause deterioration in the amount of serotonin.
There are many lifestyle changes that can reduce stress and increase serotonin.
Tired after exercise causes tryptophan to rise, this will have an effect on raising serotonin. One exercise that you can try to raise serotonin is the physical exercise in the form of aerobics.
Research in mice running on a treadmill has a high serotonin amount compared to mice that are inactive or always silent.
25. Meditation and yoga
The benefits of meditation and yoga are able to improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression, until mid. Wider meditation is useful for activating all brain cells to better understand themselves, their emotions, increase awareness, ability to solve problems, and alertness.