Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, serving as a chemical messenger between nerve cells. It’s produced from the essential amino acid, tryptophan. Trytophan deficiency, in turn, leads to lower levels of serotonin in your body. (A tryptophan supplement to try: Jarrow Formulas L-Tryptophan, which helps stimulate the production of serotonin.)
Where is serotonin found?
Serotonin is found primarily in the digestive tract of animals, including humans. It is also found in blood platelets and the central nervous system. It enters your body through your diet when you eat foods like cheese, nuts and lean meats.
What does serotonin do?
Serotonin is thought to be your body’s natural mood stabilizer and is responsible for preventing anxiety and depression. Serotonin also serves several other functions in the human body, including regulating the digestive system, sleep cycles, pain perception and bone health.
- Serotonin can keep you happy
Serotonin is believed to regulate anxiety and depression, as these disorders are linked to low levels of serotonin. Normal serotonin levels keep you happy, calm, relaxed and stable. (If you’re looking for an over-the-counter serotonin supplement, try Pharmaca 5-HTP).
- Serotonin keeps your gut in check
Serotonin is found primarily in the GI tract of your body, and helps to regulate bowel movements and the essential movement of your gut.
- Serotonin can help put you to sleep
Serotonin is the chemical that decides when you sleep and when you wake up, and that’s why low levels of serotonin have been linked to the sleep disorder insomnia. In addition, our bodies perform restorative processes while we sleep, including pain management. A supplement such as Gaia Herbs Turmeric Supreme Pain P.M. can be helpful if you’re experience both sleeplessness and pain.
How can I naturally boost my serotonin levels?
If you’re looking for ways to raise your serotonin levels without medication or supplements, there are several ways to do so:
- Watch what you eat
Aside from maintaining a healthy diet, choose foods that will boost your serotonin levels such as eggs, cheese, turkey, salmon and nuts.
- Move your body
A body in motion stays in motion, and motion makes you happy. Regular exercise is a well-known mood enhancer, so get out there and dance!
- Let there be light
Light therapy has long been known to help improve your mood, so get outside and soak in some of sunshine.
If you’re suffering from anxiety or depression and suspect that low serotonin might be the culprit, talk to your health care provider about what steps you can take to maintain normal levels and keep your body happy, healthy and functioning at its best.