Low serotonin treatment: How to increase serotonin levels naturally

By: Bel Marra Health | Brain Function | Tuesday, July 25, 2017 - 02:00 PM

low serotonin treatmentSerotonin, a chemical that occurs naturally in our brain, helps regulate our mood, appetite, memory, and sleep, but some people are serotonin deficient and require low serotonin treatment.

There are several reasons a person may have low serotonin levels. If you are vitamin B6 deficient, that can affect serotonin production. This is because B6 helps synthesize serotonin. Serotonin is actually synthesized from an amino acid called tryptophan, so if you have low dietary levels of L-tryptophan, your serotonin may be low. There are some foods that contain L-tryptophan, such as poultry, nuts, and dairy products. There have also been studies suggesting that an amino acid in certain tea leaves can impact serotonin levels. That amino acid is theanine, and it can enter the brain and affect the release of serotonin.

Low serotonin related health conditions

There are a number of different health conditions that are related to low serotonin levels. Thankfully, they don’t automatically translate to a serotonin deficiency. Still, research has shown that many of the following conditions can improve when serotonin levels increase.

  • Anxiety disorders. People who experience frequent anxiety are often found to lack serotonin. Without the right amount of serotonin, they find it very hard to reduce psychological arousal.
  • Autism. Some researchers suggest that people who suffer from autism may have low serotonin levels and mutations in the way the compound is transported throughout the brain.
  • Eating disorders. When someone has an eating disorder, they often suffer from low self-esteem and anxiety. There seems to be a link between low serotonin, dysfunction of neurotransmitters, and eating disorders. People with anorexia or bulimia often take a medication to boost serotonin levels.
  • Fibromyalgia. This is a condition that is characterized by wide spread body aches and pains. Some experts wonder if malfunctioning of serotonin metabolism contributes to this condition.
  • IBS. People with irritable bowel syndrome tend to not have enough serotonin for proper digestion.
  • Major depression. People diagnosed with major depression are thought to be serotonin deficient.
  • Migraines. Some studies show that individuals who suffer from migraine headaches have lower than average levels of serotonin in their brain. For some people, boosting serotonin reduces the number of migraine attacks.
  • OCD. OCD has been linked to lower than average serotonin levels.
  • Sleep disorders. Low serotonin is known to lead to many sleep issues, including insomnia, hyper-insomnia (excessive sleepiness), and a poor quality of sleep.
  • Undermethylation. People with undermethylation have a mutation in the MTHFR gene. This leads to low levels of the compound SAM-e. This compound plays a role in normal bodily function. Approximately 15 to 20 percent of those with undermethylation become depressed and have low serotonin levels. Supplements and dietary adjustments often help bring serotonin back to normal levels.

Low serotonin treatment

If you feel your mental performance is impaired, you’re having difficulty sleeping, or find it hard to function in social situations, you might be one of many who suffers from low serotonin levels. There are a number of options to treat his condition. In addition to traditional medical interventions that can boost serotonin, there are natural remedies for low serotonin. For some people, the answer is simply a low serotonin diet.

Here’s a list of low serotonin treatments:

Dietary changes

Consuming more foods that are rich in tryptophan can be a good approach. Eggs, cheese, tofu, and pineapple are good options. Carbohydrates make tryptophan more available, so they should not be overlooked. Micronutrients are also essential to physiological processes. Eating grain-like seeds, such as buckwheat, quinoa, and amaranth can also help boost serotonin. The grain-like seeds provide important B vitamins, which play an important role in brain health.

Including foods that are high in protein, especially those that have a higher tryptophan percentage, would be wise. This includes turkey, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds. It is best to get proteins from grain-like foods as opposed to animal proteins, since high animal proteins do not help create more serotonin.

  • Fermented foods and drinks. Fermented foods and drinks assist in digestion as well as in the assimilation of nutrients needed to stimulate serotonin. Microflora rich Dong Quai is an example of a fermented drink.
  • Eliminate sugar. Some individuals with low serotonin levels crave sugar, but it is not a good idea to consume too much because it can lead to insulin resistance, hypoglycemia, and type 2 diabetes. Satisfy your sweet tooth with some fresh fruit instead.
  • Consume seafood. Eating seafood not only provides the body with the amino acid tryptophan, but the omega-3 fatty acids in fish can help increase serotonin production in the brain and improve serotonin transportation across neurons.
  • Eat curry. It turns out that turmeric or curcumin increases brain serotonin levels.
  • Exercise. There are some studies that indicate exercise may help elevate levels of serotonin. Even gentle exercise like walking can help boost mood and assist people who are suffering from fatigue as a result of low serotonin.
  • Sunlight. Low levels of vitamin D are linked to slower production of serotonin in the brain, so getting outside and under the sun could help. During colder seasons, when sun levels are low, you can consider vitamin D supplements. Note that cod liver oil also contains vitamin D, so it can be included in your diet.
  • Vitamin B6. This is an important vitamin when it comes to balancing serotonin levels. Spinach, turnip greens, garlic, celery, cauliflower, tuna, salmon, and cod are good examples of vitamin B6 rich foods.
  • Supplements. Sometimes, dietary changes may not be enough, but supplements can be added. Some people supplement with either L-Tryptophan or 5-HTP. This should be discussed with a healthcare professional since long-term use can be hazardous.
  • Reduce stress. Being stressed out can interfere with serotonin levels, so adjusting lifestyle and adding more relaxation into your weekly routine can be helpful. For example, getting a massage, participating in yoga, meditating, and even psychotherapy are good options. According to the University of Miami School of Medicine, massage boosts serotonin by 28 percent.
  • BioMat. This is a pad that you lie on with headphones and relaxing music. The BioMat combines infrared negative ions and amethyst crystals and produces negative ions that increase the flow of oxygen to the brain. It is believed that this has a positive impact on how serotonin is oxidized in the blood stream.
  • Gut bacteria. Eating a diet that is high in fiber can fuel healthy gut bacteria. Research shows healthy gut bacteria plays an essential role in serotonin levels. Supplementing with probiotics may also be helpful.

Medications are the easiest and quickest way to increase serotonin levels. Most of the prescribed drugs that target the serotonin system in our body are called SSRIs. They have been known to be effective at increasing extracellular serotonin in a short period of time. Low serotonin is also treated with atypical antidepressants and tricyclic antidepressants. As is the case with any kind of traditional medications, there can be adverse side effects.

Although serotonin is often referred to as the “mood molecule” or the “happy molecule,” its relationship with our body is not all about the brain, which makes balancing it so important. A large percentage of serotonin is in our gastrointestinal tract and therefore is involved in helping to regulate our bowels. It is in our central nervous system, our cardiovascular system, our endocrine system, and even our muscles. Having low serotonin levels can lead to all sorts of health problems.

Balanced serotonin is important to good health. Just as low serotonin can inflict havoc with our well-being, too much serotonin can lead to excessive nerve cell activity, causing what is known as serotonin syndrome. Most cases of serotonin syndrome are related to serotonin medication building up in the body. If you have questions or concerns about your serotonin levels, have a discussion with your doctor as soon as possible.

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