Serotonin Deficiency Is Strongly Linked With Depression

Serotonin is the main brain chemical responsible for making us feel happy, relaxed and self-confident, according to Be Brain Fit, “If you’re one of the millions who struggle with the “blues,” depression, or anxiety, you may have a serotonin deficiency… It’s believed that low serotonin is responsible for our current epidemics of depression and anxiety. Besides mood, serotonin also plays an important role in our sleep, sex drive, and digestive health.

While taking antidepressants may increase serotonin levels, 86% of people taking these drugs experience terrible side effects. As Dr. Hyman says:

“Most patients taking antidepressants either don’t respond or have only partial response. In fact, success is considered just a 50 percent improvement in half of depressive symptoms. And this minimal result is achieved in less than half the patients taking antidepressants. That’s a pretty dismal record. It’s only made worse by the fact that 86 percent of people taking antidepressants have one or more side effects, including sexual dysfunction, fatigue, insomnia, loss of mental abilities, nausea, and weight gain. No wonder half the people who try antidepressants quit after four months.”

The good news is that you don’t need drugs to improve your mood. Here are 3 natural ways to boost your serotonin levels!

3 Natural Ways To Boost Serotonin

1. Diet High in B Vitamins

David Wolfe explains that “vitamin B6 aids in both the development and the function of serotonin in the brain. For those who are prone to stress, making sure to get enough B Vitamins can have a positive effect on stress levels. Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12 are effective in lessening depression symptoms. According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, adults that were diagnosed with depression or were experiencing depression-like symptoms improved after supplementing their diets with B Vitamins. Supplement forms of B Vitamins are available, but making sure to get plenty B Vitamins in your diet can keep you happy and healthy.”

Eat more vitamin B6 foods such as salmon or grass-fed beef, or take high quality supplements. Here are the top 5 foods rich in vitamin B6, according to Dr. Axe:

  1. Wild Caught Tuna: 3 oz: 0.87 mg (44% DV)
  2. Banana: 1 medium: 0.43 mg (21% DV)
  3. Salmon: 3 oz: 0.7 mg (35% DV)
  4. Grass-fed Beef: 3oz: 0.57 mg (30% DV)
  5. Chicken breast: 3 oz: 0.46 mg (23% DV)

2. Take 5-HTP Amino Acids

5-HTP or 5-Hydroxytryptophan is a naturally-occurring amino acid that is extracted from the seeds of a woody climbing shrub native to West Africa called the Griffonia simplicifolia plant. It converts into serotonin with the help of Vitamin B6, and has been found effective in treating anxiety, depression, insomnia and hypertension. (Source)

Life Enhancement states that researchers found that 5-HTP is superior to some antidepressants in treating depression symptoms. “Prozac is a prescription drug, whereas 5-HTP is a natural nutrient supplement. Prozac is in a class of drugs called SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), other examples of which are Zoloft® and Paxil®. These drugs were originally developed to treat depression. Now they are widely prescribed for other disorders, including anxiety, sleep disturbance, PMS, obesity, chronic headaches, and other chronic pain disorders. Studies of 5-HTP have shown it to be valuable for all the same disorders. In direct comparison with an SSRI, 5-HTP has been shown to be equivalently beneficial for depression, but with significantly fewer side effects.”

Dr. Axe recommends taking 50-100 MG twice every day. There are hundreds of reviews on Amazon sharing this natural supplement helps beat depression. “Not only did 5htp help me get off of fluoxetine several years ago, it also continues to help me maintain a balanced mood and be my happy, positive self without unnatural chemicals infiltrating my brain =). I’ve struggled with depression, anxiety, and PTSD for years now (abusive ex, long story), and 5htp makes it possible for me to focus on what really matters as opposed to dwelling on negative crap I can’t change.” (Amazon review on Natrol 5-HTP Time Release Tablets)

3. Embrace The Sunshine

Sunlight is the best source of vitamin D for your body. It also allows serotonin levels to remain high for a natural mood-boost that reduces your risk of developing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and depression.

Healthline explains that “decreased sun exposure has been associated with a drop in serotonin that can lead to SAD. You’re more likely to experience SAD in the winter when the days are shorter and the nights are longer. One of the treatments for SAD is light therapy, which is also known as phototherapy.” You can get a light box designed to stimulate your brain to make more serotonin and reduce excess melatonin production.

“Exposure to sunlight can also benefit those suffering from nonseasonal depression, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and in pregnant women with depression, according to the Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience. Anxiety-related disorders and panic attacks have also been linked with changing seasons and reduced sunlight. The light-induced effects of serotonin are triggered by sunlight that goes through the eye. Sunlight cues special areas in the retina, which triggers the release of serotonin.”