How to Increase Seritonin
Serotonin, a natural neurotransmitter, occurs naturally in the body. Serotonin is best known for affecting mood levels, but it also impacts sleeping, memory retention, even appetite. For people suffering from depression, there are several ways to increase serotonin in the bloodstream, which helps to elevate one’s mood. Some methods are natural, involving exposure to sunlight, vitamins and minerals and physical movement. Other methods involve the intake of prescription drugs.
Get some sunlight. The hormone Melatonin builds up naturally in the body. It is an important hormone, but it also consumes serotonin. Sunlight suppresses the production of melatonin, and allows serotonin levels to rise. Two hours worth of exposure to natural sunlight, broken up into small doses during the day, will increase serotonin and elevate your mood.
Try taking Folic Acid supplements. The website The Way Up states that studies have shown 15 to 50 mg dose of folic acid, taken every day, should increase serotonin (See Resources).
Try taking 400 mcg/day of Vitamin B6 supplements. According to Livestrong.com, a 2005 study by Elizabeth Lipski, Ph.D showed that depressed patients also maintained low vitamin B6 levels (See Reference 2).
Try taking the herbal supplement St. John’s Wort. This supplement has been promoted for the precise purpose of fighting depression naturally for many years.
Try getting physical exercise, including some cardio exercise, at least 20 minutes a day. Exercising releases the hormones called endorphins, which increases serotonin in the bloodstream.
Try eating more carbohydrates. An article on MoodImprovement.com tells us that carbs increase insulin levels in the bloodstream, which sends tryptophan into the brain. Tryptophan ushers in serotonin levels (See Reference 3). To get the greatest benefit to your health, avoid simple carbohydrates such as sugar and white breads, and increase the amounts of whole grains in your diet.
Talk to a psychiatrist about getting a prescription for an SSRI–a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. MayoClinic.com explains that these prescription drugs increase serotonin in patients by inhibiting its reuptake (it’s re-absorption) on the cellular level, Inhibiting the reuptake keeps the serotonin actively sending signals to the brain, which elevates the mood of the depressed patient (See Reference 1). Popular brand-name SSRIs incluse Prozac, Zoloft and Lexapro.