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Soothe Yourself: Boost Serotonin

Soothe Yourself: Boost Serotonin

anxiety depression Jul 25, 2020
by Henry Emmons, MD
[adapted from The Chemistry of Calm]

p.s., If you haven't read Part 1 of this series, head there first. 

  

Increase Serotonin Levels with Supplements

Nearly everyone feels better when their serotonin levels are optimal. It has such a wide array of functions, involved with everything from sleep to appetite to impulse control to sexual desire. It's the brain chemical that helps soothe you when you feel stressed or threatened, and it offers considerable protection to the brain against the damaging effects of cortisol. 

Serotonin’s broad benefits may explain why Prozac and the other SSRI’s took the world by storm in the 1990’s. It took a while for the shortcomings of these medications to become clear—problems such as agitation, numbing of emotions and sexual feelings, weight gain, insomnia, fatigue. The SSRI’s are not the cure-all that they initially appeared to be. The problem remains: millions of people are serotonin-depleted and suffer from the impacts of stress and anxiety (not to mention depression) as a result.

Most people with anxiety, especially if their mood is low as well, may benefit by boosting their serotonin levels. In addition to following the Resilient Diet, which is designed to help with serotonin production, the following supplements may offer support:

  • L-tryptophan or the related precursor 5-HTP.
  • DHEA.
  • B vitamins
  • Vitamin D
  • Omega 3 fats 
  • St. John’s wort

It also helps to take measures to reduce inflammation, which frees up a key metabolic pathway to produce more serotonin.4

Serotonin boosting supplements at Fullscript, our partner store

Please note: The supplements links go to our partner store, Fullscript (with an ongoing 10% discount for you + free shipping on orders over $50). You must have an account to view products and shop. Create your free account at: https://us.fullscript.com/welcome/nmh/signup. Learn more about Fullscript here.

PureGenomics B-Complex is designed to address the nutrient requirements of common genetic variations in the methylation pathway with a unique blend of B vitamins in highly researched and activated forms. Methylation is a key regulator of genetic expression and cellular function. Healthy methylation is vital for cellular health, DNA synthesis, hormone and neurotransmitter production, and energy metabolism. Optimal levels of B vitamins have been associated with cellular, cardiovascular, neurological and psychological health.*

 

 

 Vitamin D 5000 IU In addition to supporting bone health, vitamin D plays an important role maintaining cardiovascular health and immune function, and promoting an overall sense of well-being.*

 

 

OmegAvail™ Hi-Po provides a potent 1600 mg of EPA/DHA per serving (two softgels), and also includes lipase, a digestive aid to ensure maximum absorption. Lipase also helps to prevent any fishy aftertaste, known as repeat, that sometimes occurs with fish oil supplements. Omega-3 has been shown to help many body functions, including supporting mental focus and healthy, stable moods. It can also be helpful as a tool to address seasonal or cyclic mood concerns.*  

 

Pure Encapsulations' L-Tryptophan: The essential amino acid l-tryptophan is a serotonin precursor. Research indicates that l-tryptophan supplementation may support emotional well-being and restful sleep. In a double blind placebo-controlled study, l-tryptophan supported healthy emotional processing and promoted positive outlook in women. In a separate study, it supported healthy mood and lessened occasional irritability during the menstrual cycle. L-Tryptophan also supports healthy sleep quality, onset and duration. Additional research suggests that tryptophan may promote relaxation and help control occasional cravings. Niacinamide and vitamin B6 provide enhanced support as important cofactors involved in the metabolism of l-tryptophan.*

 

Cerenity

Cerenity is a comprehensive formula designed to address daily stress by increasing the production of the calming neurotransmitters serotonin and gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA). Cerenity also includes key ingredients that quickly increase the production of alpha brain waves resulting in a relaxed and effortless state of alertness.*

 

How do you know if you are serotonin-deficient?

Because it is such a key brain chemical, the signs of serotonin depletion are many:

  • Insomnia (or irregular circadian rhythms).
  • Craving sweets and other carbohydrates.
  • Frequent muscle aches and pains.
  • Impulsive behaviors.
  • Moodiness (especially sadness, anxiety, and irritability).
  • Feeling emotionally sensitive or vulnerable.
  • Feeling insecure or lacking self-confidence.
  • Low stress-tolerance.

 

 

*Note: Some of the supplements discussed in this article can cause side effects, but many people tolerate them much better than prescription medications. They are generally considered safe, however, they should not be started without your doctor’s knowledge and supervision. If you are taking medication already, be sure to talk with your doctor before adding any of these items. If you are considering going off medication, remember never to stop your medication suddenly—always consult with your doctor about how to safely taper off any psychiatric medication. See terms. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

 

 


 RELATED ARTICLE

5-HTP for Anxiousness

Considerable research has shown that 5-HTP can reduce anxiety, both general and panic, as well as improve mood. Read more.

 


SOURCES
  1. Hassel, B., & Dingledine, R. (2006). Glutamate. In Siegel,G. J., Albers, R. W., Brady, S. T., & Price, D. L. (Eds.), Basic neurochemistry: Molecular, cellular, and medical aspects (267-290). San Diego, CA: Academic Press. 
  2. Kim, A. H., et al. (2002). Blocking excitotoxicity. In Marcoux, F. W., & Choi, D. W. (Eds.), Neuroprotection (3-36). New York: Springer.
  3. Krimer, L. S., et al. (1998). Dopaminergic regulation of cerebral cortical microcirculation. Nature Neuroscience, 1, 286-289.
  4. Wichers, M., & Maes, M. (2002). The psychoneuroimmuno-pathophysiology of cytokine induced depression in humans. International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 5, 375-438.
  5. Peled, R., et al. (2008). Breast cancer, psychological distress and life events among young women BMC Cancer, 8.
  6. Alhaj, H. A., et al. (2006). Effects of DHEA administration on episodic memory, cortisol and mood in healthy young men: A double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Psychopharmacology, 188(4), 541-551.
  7. Darbinyan, V., et al. (2007). Clinical trial of Rhodiola Rosea L. extract SHR-5 in the treatment of mild to moderate depression. Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, 61(5), 343-348.
  8. Bystritsky, A., et al. (2008). A pilot study of Rhodiola rosea (Rhodax) for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 14(2), 175-180.
  9. Khanum, F., et al. (2005). Rhodiola rosea: A versatile adaptogen. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, 4, 55-62.
  10. Lombard, J. (2006, September). Neurobiology of mood and cognition: Strategies and protocols of neurotransmitter balance. Presented at Great Lakes Conference.
  11. Kobayashi, K., et al. (1998). Effects of L-theanine on the release of alpha-brain waves in human volunteers. Journal of the Agricultural Chemical Society of Japan, 72(2), 153-157.
  12. Lake, J. (2008). Integrative Management of Anxiety. Psychiatric Times, 25(1), 13-16.
  13. Grant, J., et al. (2007). N-acetyl cysteine, a glutamate-modulating agent, in the treatment of pathological gambling: A pilot study. Biological Psychiatry, 62(6), 652-657.
  14. Grant, J., et al. (2009). N-acetylcysteine, a glutamate modulator, in the treatment of trichotillomania. Archives of General Psychiatry, 66(7), 756-763.
  15. Mori, M., et al., (2002). Beta-alanine and taurine as endogenous agonists at glycine receptors in rat hippocampus in vitro. The Journal of Physiology, 539, 191-200.
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  18. Abdou, A., et al. (2006). Relaxation and immunity enhancement effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) administration in humans. BioFactors, 26, 201-208.
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  20. Akhondzadeh, S., et al. (2001). Passionflower in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder: A pilot double-blind randomized controlled trial with oxazepam. Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, 26, 363-367.
  21. Yuan, C. S., et al. (2004). The gamma-aminobutyric acidergic effects of valerian and valerenic acid on rat brainstem neuronal activity. Anesthesia and Analgesia, 98, 353-358.
  22. Panijel, M. (1985). Therapy of symptoms of anxiety. Therapiewoche, 41, 4659-4668.


 

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This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice and is not a replacement for advice and treatment from a medical professional. Consult your doctor or other qualified health professional before beginning any diet change, supplement, or lifestyle program. See our terms for more information.

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