10 Natural Serotonin Supplements for Healthy Mood Boosting
Given all the new information discovered about the risks of taking SSRI anti-depressants, it’s a bit of a surprise that physicians continue to prescribe them for depressed patients as often as they do. Individuals with light to mild depression should consider more natural treatment options, as SSRIs are now understood to cause many worrisome side effects and long term effects for many people. Here today analyze the connection between that term there – SSRI –and one of the 4 primary neurotransmitters found in our brains in particular.
SSRI is an acronym for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, and serotonin is the specific neurotransmitter we’re talking about. Between all of the big 4, it’s the key one for being in a stable, relatively positive mood. ‘Inhibiting’ the ‘reuptake’ of it ensures you’ve got higher levels than the average and as a result you’re able to make up for the deficiencies that become depression.
Most will decide that taking SSRIs isn’t an option , but they’re still especially keen to find a more natural way to treat depression and see to it your serotonin reserves aren’t depleted. We are all in luck, however, as there are now a number of natural supplement alternatives to boost your serotonin levels, according Dawn Rendle, a health consultant at YesWellness .
The following will address a number of them, but we’ll start by saying that all of these suggestions really should be paired with smart lifestyle and diet choices that set the groundwork for better overall mental health.
Most people’s immediate association with tryptophan is to think of all the drowsiness they experience after eating a turkey dinner, and that’s quite alright. Some of you may have noted, though, that you feel especially good a day or two after that meal.
That’s because tryptophan is an amino acid that serves as a precursor for serotonin. However, there’s a common misconception that ingesting it through foods will immediately provide a boost to your serotonin levels. That’s not so – eating a meal that contains protein (and all meats contain protein) will instead cause both tryptophan and serotonin levels to dip.
To ensure your tryptophan is in fact converted into serotonin, always take a B6 vitamin. It will optimize your body’s B4 (Tetrahydrobiopterin) process, where raw materials are then synthesized into ready-to-use serotonin for much more positive thinking and a better mood.
Like tryptophan, 5HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) is also an amino acid but how it differs is that it requires one less full step to be converted into serotonin. The chance of the process being compromised is decreased as a result, but in much the same way it’s particularly beneficial to pair your 5HTP with a B6 Vitamin.
5HTP is readily available in capsule form as a supplement in nearly any health store or in the vitamins section of nearly any supermarket.
SAM-e (s-adenosyl methionine) is found in every cell of the body and brain, and powers over 100 different metabolic reactions. SAM-e is a valuable ally in combating depression with the fact that is increases serotonin as well as dopamine, acetylcholine, and other important brain chemicals.
Like 5HTP, SAM-e can be purchased as a synthetic supplement but is not one of the common ones you’ll find on the shelves of most of the same stores. However, ask for it and almost certainly someone will be able to get it for you.
- Vitamin B9
Vitamin B9, also known as folic acid, should also be on your checklist. Folic acid deficiency will usually lead to a serotonin deficiency in the brain, but your most important thing to take away when supplementing with folic acid is how it is vastly preferable to take a BIOACTIVE FOLATE, as compared to the majority of folic acid supplements out there, which are not an active form of the mineral but rather designed to serve different health purposes , most notably for preventing neural tube defects during pregnancy.
We can’t recommend supplementing with bioactive folate to increase your serotonin levels highly enough.
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C is also a serotonin cofactor that can serve as a natural antidepressant. Plus the fact that it’s so enjoyable to eat the best sources of vitamin C – fruits and vegetables – makes it even better as an approach for improving your mood via diet. Vitamin C is also widely available as a supplement, often in tasty chewable tablets or drink mixes. If you’re feeling down, ingest plenty of vitamin C year round.
- Vitamin D
Vitamin D is made available in bountiful quantities by the sun, and soaking up as much as you can outdoors is highly recommended. Experts suggest that Vitamin D is quite likely the most important missing vitamin for your brain, mood, and making sure you’re well protected against mood disorders like depression.
Vitamin D also plays a role in the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin. It’s especially good for your brain, so make sure you get plenty of it – from the sun or from quality health supplements.
- Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids
Good news for those of you who like to eat fish, and ones like sardines or mackerel in particular. You’re getting plenty of Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids. They are one of the most important types of nutrients for overall brain health and function, and that’s attributable to their 2 major components – DHA (docosahexanoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), both of which are integrally involved in the production and maintenance of serotonin.
DHA optimizes your serotonin receptors to be more receptive, while EPA promotes neurons to release much more serotonin. If you’re not a fish fanatic, there are plenty of Omega-3 supplement capsules available in pretty much any health store.
Zinc also packs a punch when it comes to boosting your serotonin levels for a better mood. A brain that’s loaded up with zinc tends to be a happy one, with zinc increasing the uptake of serotonin in certain areas of the brain and continuing to show significant potential as a treatment for major depressive disorder attributable to a serotonin deficiency.
Increased zinc intake for better mood can be accomplished quite easily with diet supplementation within meals, and quinoa is a great choice in that regard. You’ll get upwards of 2mg of zinc with each ¾ cup serving.
Take note that children and teenagers are more significantly at risk for zinc deficiencies, it’s something to keep in mind if your children are exhibiting depressive symptoms. Zinc is also very commonly found as an under-the-counter health supplement.
Author Bio – Amy Kazmeier is an avocational health and wellness consultant who enjoys sharing her knowledge of naturopathic approaches and alternatives to pharmaceutical approaches for treating different ailments and conditions. She enjoys writing her own blog at her website and is eager to contribute to others, in the hope of enlightening people as to how they can live their lives in better health.