- What is the role of serotonin?
- What happens if I have too little serotonin?
- What happens if I have too much serotonin?
- How can I adjust my serotonin levels?
- Six Ways to Naturally Increase Your Serotonin – Prime Wellness
- Top 7 Foods That Boost Serotonin – WealthFit Financial Planning Tingalpa
- Serotonin and Mood
- Serotonin and Cognition
- Serotonin and Gastrointestinal Regulation
- Serotonin and Sleep
- Foods that Boost Serotonin
- Bananas and plantain
- Dark chocolate
- Turkey and chicken
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sea vegetables
- Green Tea
- Oily fish
- Vitamin D-rich foods
- Vitamin B6-rich foods
- Folate-rich foods
- The problem with foods rich in tryptophan
- The solution
- Avoiding Foods and Beverages Which Lower Serotonin Levels
- L-tryptophan: Uses and Risks
- Herbal Supplements
- What are the forms of herbal supplements?
- What are some common herbal supplements and their uses?
- How popular are herbal supplements?
- Are herbal supplements safe to use?
- 8 foods that boost serotonin naturally
- 1. Salmon
- 2. Poultry
- 3. Eggs
- 4. Spinach
- 5. Seeds
- 6. Milk
- 7. Soy products
- 8. Nuts
Serotonin is a chemical that has several important jobs within the body. It’s a natural mood stabiliser that controls wellbeing and happiness. Not having enough serotonin is thought to contribute to depression.
Serotonin is manufactured by the body’s nerve cells. It is formed during a chemical reaction involving a protein called tryptophan.
Serotonin is found throughout the body, but mainly in the intestines, brain and blood. It helps your body to work properly by sending messages between the nerve cells.
What is the role of serotonin?
Serotonin has many different roles. It helps control the muscles and how you move, and it influences appetite and how your bowels work. It is used to push out food when you vomit or have diarrhoea. It also helps your blood to clot, to heal wounds, and it plays a role in the health of your bones.
It’s also very important in the brain. Serotonin controls your mood and is responsible for happiness. It helps regulate when you sleep and wake, helps you think, maintains your mood, and controls your sexual desire.
Boosting serotonin levels can help with depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
What happens if I have too little serotonin?
If you don’t have enough serotonin, you are more ly to develop depression and anxiety. You need the right amount of serotonin to feel happy, calm and emotionally stable.
The symptoms of low serotonin levels include:
- memory problems
- feeling low
- craving sweet foods
- having problems sleeping
- feeling bad about yourself
- increased libido (sexual desire)
Recreational drugs MDMA (ecstasy) cause large amounts of serotonin to be released. This can mean your serotonin levels end up low, leading you to feel depressed and confused for a few days. Over time, it’s thought that drug use can damage the nerves that produce serotonin.
What happens if I have too much serotonin?
Having too much serotonin can lead to serotonin syndrome, which can be life threatening in some people. It’s almost always caused by an interaction with antidepressant medicines. It usually disappears when you stop taking the medicines, but it is very important to see a doctor if you think you may have serotonin syndrome. It is usually treated in hospital.
Serotonin syndrome usually happens after your medicine dose has been increased, or if you have taken antidepressant medicines along with other prescription medicines, natural medicines or illegal drugs that also increase serotonin. Symptoms include:
High levels of serotonin can also reduce your libido (sexual desire).
Sometimes high levels of serotonin are a sign that you have a tumour in an organ, in your stomach or lungs.
How can I adjust my serotonin levels?
Serotonin levels can be increased naturally by getting more exposure to outdoor sunlight and by doing plenty of exercise. It can also help to eat more foods that contain tryptophan, such as nuts, eggs, cheese, red meat, turkey, salmon, tofu and pineapple.
Counselling and meditation are ways to improve your mood that are also thought to boost serotonin levels.
Medicines that are used to increase serotonin levels and treat depression are known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These medicines work by preventing serotonin from being reabsorbed back into the nerve cells.
It’s important to always follow your doctor’s instructions when taking SSRIs. You should never mix them with other medicines or illegal drugs, and never stop taking them without talking to your doctor first.
Last reviewed: March 2019
Six Ways to Naturally Increase Your Serotonin – Prime Wellness
Serotonin is one of the many neurotransmitters in your body that have multiple roles. It is critical to enhancing the function of your brain, which regulates how you feel and behave, and it is also important to your overall health.
The production of serotonin depends heavily on how much vitamin B and tryptophan, an amino acid, are available in your system.
If your body is not producing enough serotonin, which can happen for many different reasons, you may begin to exhibit symptoms depression, insomnia, cognitive impairment, headaches and mood swings.
However, there are some steps you can take to naturally increase the serotonin in your body.
1. Increase Your Vitamin B Intake
All of the B vitamins have crucial roles in converting tryptophan into serotonin. A deficiency in folic acid, or vitamin B9 (MTHF), will result in low serotonin levels.
There are also multiple studies that show that there are links between deficiencies in vitamins B6 and B12 and a decline in serotonin levels.
You can enhance your vitamin B levels by taking all-natural supplements or by receiving vitamin injections, the vitamin B6, B12, B9 (MTHF) injections we offer at Prime Wellness.
2. Manage Your Stress Levels
Stress is a natural part of life, but the mental, emotional and physical ways in which your body responds to changes in your environment can have a toll on your health if your stress is not properly managed.
When you are under stress, your body will increase its production of cortisol, the stress hormone, and reduce the production of serotonin and other important neurotransmitters, Prime Wellness does neurotransmitter testing and can help guide you through any neurotransmitter imbalance you may be experiencing.
Your body is not meant to endure continuous stress and will react with headaches, high blood pressure, digestive problems, difficulty sleeping and chest pains. Chronic stress may also make you more ly develop certain diseases, diabetes.
While it is nearly impossible to avoid stressful situations, you do have control over how you respond to them. You should make de-stressing a daily part of your life.
Whether it is taking a daily walk, reading a book or practicing yoga, you should do what you can to limit the effects of stress on your body.
3. Get a Good Massage
Having a good massage can help you relax and can improve your blood circulation. You will be able to enjoy a professional massage even more knowing that it can also increase the production of serotonin.
According to the results of one study that was published in the International Journal of Neuroscience, a massage can boost serotonin levels by 28 percent and dopamine levels by 31 percent, even as it decreases the levels of cortisol by 31 percent.
4. Exercise Regularly
It is no coincidence that living a sedentary lifestyle is associated with depression, which in turn is associated with low levels of serotonin. Engaging in exercise on a regular basis is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Not only can being physically active can help you lose weight and keep if off, it can also increase your serotonin levels. The motor activity used during exercise increases the frequency at which serotonin is released in your brain, which causes an increase in the production and release of serotonin.
Another benefit of exercise is that it prompts your brain to produce more tryptophan.
5. Get Enough Sleep
While you may routinely stay up late to catch up on work, doing so can gradually lower the serotonin levels in your brain.
Getting a good night’s sleep, typically six to eight hours, is necessary to having the sufficient serotonin levels, combatting stress and avoiding certain health complications that can result from sleep deprivation.
In order to have restful, quality sleep, it is important that you are asleep for a certain amount of time and on a consistent basis.
If you are having difficulty establishing a sleep pattern, try to train your body by establishing a nighttime routine before going to bed at the same time every night, avoid blue light from your electronic devices, and set your alarm to wake up at the same time every morning. Prime Wellness offers a variety of supplements to help with sleep including Magnesium Glycinate from Metagenics and our practitioners can help you find the one that best suites your needs.
Eating well is necessary for all of the processes in your body. However, you should make sure that your diet includes foods that contain high levels of the amino acid tryptophan and limit the account of caffeine you consume as it has been known to suppress serotonin production.
Eggs, cheese, pineapple, tofu, salmon, nuts, seeds and turkey all have high levels of tryptophan. Your diet should also be high in fiber to boost the healthy gut bacteria, or probiotics, which can also impact serotonin levels through the biochemical signals that sent between the central nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract.
You can take probiotic supplements, Metagenics’ UltraFlora Balance, to get the probiotics you need.
Contact us at Prime Wellness if you are seeking a natural solution to your medical issue. As a Metagenics product provider, we also offer supplements that can help you achieve your health goals.
Top 7 Foods That Boost Serotonin – WealthFit Financial Planning Tingalpa
Serotonin, also known as 5-HT, is a neurotransmitter released by the pineal gland of the brain. However, it has an effect on the entire body.
Serotonin and Mood
Serotonin is best known for its positive effect on mood.
It is believed that low levels of serotonin are associated with depression. This is called the serotonin hypothesis. In support of this theory, the most popular antidepressants are those that increase levels of serotonin. They are known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs. Unfortunately, these drugs are only effective in about half of patients.
There have also been studies demonstrating that tryptophan depletion may result in lowered mood and irritability. Since tryptophan is a precursor of serotonin, this suggests that low levels of serotonin are associated with lowered mood, irritability and even aggressiveness.
Clearly, more research is needed in this area, but we do know that low levels of serotonin are only part of the explanation for depression.
Serotonin and Cognition
Serotonin has an effect on other areas besides mood too. Serotonin receptors are also found in the brain regions involved in learning and memory. Studies have found that serotonin agonists (which lead to an increase in serotonin) prevent memory impairments.
Serotonin and Gastrointestinal Regulation
The majority of serotonin travels to the lining of the intestines and stomach. When we eat, serotonin is released and controls the contractions that push food through the digestive tract. An imbalance of serotonin has been linked to constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and diarrhea.
Serotonin and Sleep
Serotonin plays an important role in controlling our circadian rhythms – our body’s internal clock. Serotonin levels are lowest while we’re sleeping and increase when we wake. It is believed that serotonin suppresses REM sleep and complements noradrenaline during wake.
Low serotonin may result in disrupted sleep.
Serotonin has also been implicated in:
- Heart rate regulation
- Blood clotting
Foods that Boost Serotonin
Many people would love to improve their mood and sleep without taking SSRIs or sleeping pills. This is understandable since both types of drugs have unwanted side effects.
So, people often turn to their diet to provide serotonin or its precursor, tryptophan. There are a few foods that contain serotonin or tryptophan.
Butternuts —a relative of walnuts— contain 398 microgram of serotonin per gram. Other nuts, such as walnuts, also contain serotonin.
Not only are pineapples delicious, but they’re really good for you too. Pineapples contain 17 micrograms of serotonin per gram. Not only that, but they also contain bromelain, which is an anti-inflammatory enzyme.
Bananas and plantain
You are probably more familiar with bananas than their family member, plantains. Plantains actually contain nearly double the amount of serotonin compared to bananas. While bananas contain about 15 micrograms of serotonin per gram, plantains contain about 30 micrograms.
Plantains shouldn’t be eaten raw a banana. They should be cooked—preferably boiled or even fried.
Kiwis contain many antioxidants, along with about six micrograms of serotonin per gram. One study showed that kiwi consumption helped adults to sleep faster, longer and better.
Plums contain about five micrograms of serotonin per gram. Plums are also a good source of vitamin C, which is an immune system booster.
Vegetables typically contain less serotonin than fruits, but tomatoes have one of the highest levels among vegetables (they are technically fruits after all). There are about 220 milligrams of serotonin in a gram of tomatoes.
There might be a reason we reach for chocolate when we’re sad—chocolate does have an effect on serotonin levels. To get the highest benefit, you should look for chocolate with a high cocoa content.
Dark chocolate typically contains a high cocoa content (30 to 85%). Those with 85% cocoa have the most serotonin (2.9 micrograms per gram) and those with 70 to 85% cocoa have the most tryptophan (13.3 micrograms per gram).
Chocolate also contributes to an increase in serotonin because it contains carbohydrates (keep reading to find out more about this).
If you’d an even healthier alternative to dark chocolate, try cacao nibs.
Eggs are a breakfast staple and it’s a good thing too because they are very nutritious. In fact, egg yolks are very rich in tryptophan. A 3.5-ounce serving of eggs contains 210 milligrams of tryptophan. Eggs are also high in protein, which is normally a good thing. However, in terms of increasing serotonin levels, it may be problematic (this is further discussed below).
Turkey and chicken
A four-ounce serving of turkey or chicken breast contains 350 to 390 milligrams of tryptophan. All animal meats contain tryptophan, but turkey and chicken breast are among the healthiest since they have relatively low saturated fat and cholesterol.
Cheese is very high in tryptophan—with about 575 milligrams of tryptophan per 100 grams of cheese. it also contains calcium (which is good for your bones), vitamin B12 (which is good for your nervous system) and protein.
Kidney beans, black beans and split peas all contain 180 milligrams of tryptophan per cup. They are also high in fiber and protein.
Oily fish contains about 250 to 400 milligrams of tryptophan per serving, while shrimp contains 330 milligrams per four-ounce serving. Seafood also has other benefits due to their high omega-3 fatty acid and vitamin content.
For every 100-gram serving of oats, you’ll receive 182 milligrams of tryptophan. Oats also have many other nutrients, such as vitamin B6 (which helps with mood, metabolism and sleep) and fiber.
A 100-gram serving of soybeans contains 590 milligrams of tryptophan. You can find soy in tofu and other meat alternatives. However, the findings on the effects of soy on health have been mixed. Some studies find it may reduce the risk of heart disease, but others find that it increases risk of breast cancer. So, you may want to be cautious about consuming large amounts of soy.
Nuts are one of the healthiest and most convenient snacks around. Almonds, walnuts and cashews contain 50 milligrams of tryptophan per quarter of a cup.
There’s a reason to buy pumpkins on days other than Halloween—they are high in tryptophan! A quarter cup of pumpkin seeds provides 110 milligrams of tryptophan. Other seeds, such as sunflower seeds, also contain tryptophan.
Beets contain tryptophan and folic acid, the latter of which is also associated with reduced depression.
Kelp and seaweed contain tryptophan. You may be wondering how to eat these though. Well, you can incorporate them into your smoothies, salads or soups.
While green tea does not contain serotonin or tryptophan, it does boost serotonin levels. That’s because it contains l-theanine, an amino acid which can cross the brain-blood barrier and increase levels of neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine. Green tea also has many other benefits since it is rich in antioxidant compounds such as flavonoids.
Probiotics also have an indirect effect on serotonin levels. They help to balance the good and bad bacteria found in your intestines. This influences serotonin levels because bad bacteria create byproducts (called lipopolysaccharides) which lower serotonin levels.
You can get probiotics from yogurt, milk and cheese.
As previously mentioned, fish does contain tryptophan. Fish in general indirectly increases serotonin levels too. Oily fish such as mackerel, halibut and trout, contain omega-3 fatty acids, a type of healthy fat. And these omega-3 fatty acids (particularly DHA and EPA) increase serotonin levels by influencing the serotonin receptor.
If you’re not a fan of fish, you can get omega-3 fatty acids from walnuts and flax oil instead.
Vitamin D-rich foods
Vitamin D-rich foods include eggs, milk, mushrooms and oily fish. These are good for boosting serotonin levels because vitamin D activates tryptophan.
Turmeric is a spice found in curry. It contains curcumin, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substance. Curcumin has been found to increase both serotonin and dopamine levels.
Vitamin B6-rich foods
Vitamin B6 helps to convert tryptophan to serotonin, so eating vitamin B6-rich foods is a good idea if you’d to increase your serotonin levels. Some foods with vitamin B6 are: chickpeas, rice, liver, spinach, seafood, mangoes and watermelon.
Folate (also known as folic acid or vitamin B9) helps to boost serotonin levels, too. Some of the best sources of folic acid include: leafy green vegetables (such as spinach), fortified grains, salmon and orange juice
The problem with foods rich in tryptophan
When we eat, tryptophan from protein-rich foods enters circulation and is taken up by cells in the intestinal tract. Most of the tryptophan is then converted to serotonin and stored there. Only a small proportion of tryptophan from food sources reaches the brain. But, a small amount can make a big difference.
The problem is that the tryptophan requires a transport pump to reach the brain and other amino acids (the building blocks of protein) use this pump, too. If there are too many amino acids competing for the transport pump, less tryptophan will enter the brain.
In order to get the full benefits of tryptophan, you should aim for a high-carbohydrate, low-protein diet. The high carbohydrate levels lead to a further increase in tryptophan because it allows insulin to be released and muscles to take up amino acids, excluding tryptophan. So, the tryptophan levels in the blood increase.
This doesn’t give you a free pass to eat all of the chocolate and sweets you want, though. There are healthy carbs out there (for example, whole-wheat pasta, oats, fruits and vegetables). Instead of increasing your risk for diseases, these healthy carbs actually lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Avoiding Foods and Beverages Which Lower Serotonin Levels
In addition to eating the foods that boost serotonin, you’ll want to avoid the ones that decrease serotonin. These include:
- Foods and beverages with the artificial sweetener, aspartame (for example, diet soda)
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L-tryptophan: Uses and Risks
L-tryptophan is an essential amino acid that helps the body make proteins and certain brain-signaling chemicals.
Your body changes L-tryptophan into a brain chemical called serotonin. Serotonin helps control your mood and sleep.
You can get all the L-tryptophan that your body needs by eating a healthy, balanced diet. Supplement doses depend on the health condition you are trying to prevent or treat.
Some people take L-tryptophan supplements to try to help them sleep.
Low levels of L-tryptophan have been seen in people with depression. Some claim up to 6 grams of L-tryptophan daily may help improve your mood or ward off mental health disorders such as depression.
There is limited research to back these claims and studies show mixed results in supporting these claims.
Some women take L-tryptophan supplements to try to ease mood swings due to premenstrual syndrome (PMS), also called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). The theory is that these conditions may be linked to a problem with serotonin processing in the body, and that L-tryptophan could help that. However, there is little evidence to show this really works.
Early research in people hints that L-tryptophan supplements may be helpful for:
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
L-tryptophan is found in meats such as turkey and chicken.
It is also found in:
- Dried dates
- Pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds
- Tree nuts, including peanuts and peanut butter
The amount of L-tryptophan in these foods is small compared to supplements.
L-tryptophan has been linked to a dangerous, even deadly condition called eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS). The FDA recalled tryptophan supplements in 1989 after tens of thousands of people who took them became sick, and some died.
EMS causes sudden and severe muscle pain, nerve damage, skin changes, and other debilitating symptoms. Doctors saw a lot fewer people with EMS after the ban.
Some research suggests the sickness was due to contaminants that got into the supplements during manufacturing in a factory in Japan.
The supplements have since been re-introduced to the U.S. market.
Side effects of L-tryptophan may include:
L-tryptophan can interfere with many different medicines. Do not take L-tryptophan if you are on antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), MAO inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants and atypical antidepressants.. Doing so may lead to a life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome are:
L-tryptophan supplements should be used with caution in pregnant women.
Talk to your doctors before taking this supplement if you have scarring of the liver (cirrhosis)
Always tell your doctor about any supplements you are taking, including natural ones and those bought without a prescription. That way, your doctor can check on any potential side effects or interactions with any medications.
Supplements are not regulated by the FDA.
News release, National Institute of Mental Health.
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine web site: “Sleep Disorders and CAM.”
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Fernstrom J.D. The Journal of Nutrition, December 2012.
Castell, L.M. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 1999.
Shannon, M.W., Borron, S.W., Burns, M.J., editors, Shannon: Haddad and Winchester's Clinical Management of Poisoning and Drug Overdose, 4th edition, Saunders Elsevier, 2007.
Gold Standard Database: “L-tryptophan Drug Monograph.”
Kemper, K.J. Pediatric Clinics of North America, December 2007.
Vigod, S. Psychiatric Clinics of North America, June 2010.
Alternative Medicine Review, 2006.
Lieberman, H.R., Tryptophan Intake in the US Adult Population Is Not Related to Liver or Kidney Function but Is Associated with Depression and Sleep Outcomes.Journal of Nutrition, December 2016.
Yurcheshen M, Seehuus M, Pigeon W. Updates on Nutraceutical Sleep Therapeutics and Investigational Research.Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2015
Richard, D., Dawes, M., Mathias, C., Acheson, A., Hill-Kapturczak, N., Dougherty, D: L-Tryptophan: Basic Metabolic Functions, Behavioral Research and Therapeutic Indications, International Journal of Tryptophan Research 2013
Sarris J, Adjunctive Nutraceuticals for Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses. Am J Psychiatry. June 2016
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Herbal supplements are products derived from plants and/or their oils, roots, seeds, berries or flowers. Herbal supplements have been used for many centuries. They are believed to have healing properties.
What are the forms of herbal supplements?
Herbal products come in many different forms and may be used internally or externally. The forms of herbal products include:
- Liquid extracts.
- Tablets and capsules.
- Bath salts.
What are some common herbal supplements and their uses?
There are many herbal supplements that have several different uses. The following are some of the most common:
Aloe Vera: used topically for burns, psoriasis and osteoarthritis. Used in the oral form for digestive issues such as gastritis or constipation.
Black cohosh: used to treat hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and menopausal symptoms.
Chamomile: used to treat sleeplessness, anxiety, upset stomach, gas and diarrhea. It is also used topically for skin conditions. Caution in people with ragweed allergy.
Echinacea: used to fight cold and flu symptoms.
Flaxseed: used to lower cholesterol. Good source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.
Ginko: used to treat memory problems and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Can be used along with the antidepressant selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to enhance sex drive and sexual performance in people who have side effects with antidepressant medications. Caution in people taking blood thinners.
Peppermint oil: used to treat digestion problems such as nausea, indigestion, stomach problems and bowel conditions.
Soy: used to treat menopausal symptoms, memory problems and high cholesterol levels. Organic, whole soy food is preferable to soy supplements and processed soy foods soy hot dogs.
St. John’s Wort: used to treat depression, anxiety and sleep disorders. NOTE: This herb has many other drug and herb interactions. Consult your healthcare provider before starting this supplement.
Tea tree oil: used topically to treat several conditions including, acne, athlete's foot, nail fungus, wounds, infections, lice, oral yeast infection (thrush), cold sores and dandruff.
How popular are herbal supplements?
Herbal supplements are widely used in the United States. A study by the Centers for Disease Control states that more than half of the people in the country take a daily herbal supplement.
Are herbal supplements safe to use?
The Dietary Supplement Health Education Act of October 1994 does not require manufacturers of herbal products to prove that their products are either safe or effective before they are put on the market. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for monitoring the safety of a product after it has become available to consumers.
In many cases, people use herbal supplements with prescribed medicines. This can result in serious health problems due to drug interactions. Always talk to your healthcare provider before you begin using an herbal supplement.
If you take aspirin, digoxin, diuretics, hypoglycemics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, spironolactone or warfarin, DO NOT use herbal supplements without first checking with your doctor.
|Ephedra (Ephedra sinica, also called Ma-Huang)||To treat coughs and obesity||Dangerous and life-threatening increases in heart rate and blood pressure. Has potentially fatal interactions with many heart medications.|
|Garlic (Allium sativum)||To lower cholesterol; to prevent and treat colds and certain infections||Excessive bleeding in people who are taking anticoagulant medications such as warfarin (Coumadin).|
|Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)||To improve mental functioning, circulation; to prevent altitude sickness||Increases the risk of excess bleeding when taken with anticoagulant drugs. Interferes with action of diuretics.|
|Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)||To treat constipation; acts as an anti-inflammatory||Contains substances that change the way your body processes many medications, so it should be used with caution with heart medication.|
|Hawthorn (Crataegus species)||To treat congestive heart failure and high blood pressure||Should not be taken by anyone taking heart medications without guidance from your doctor.|
|Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra)||To treat coughs, cirrhosis and stomach ulcers||Should not be used by anyone with a heart condition or by anyone taking heart medications. Raises blood pressure.|
High levels of vitamin K are also a problem, as vitamin K interferes with warfarin. Many foods are high in vitamin K, which may affect the way warfarin works.
Leafy green vegetables have the highest content of vitamin K; other foods high in vitamin K include Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, asparagus, okra and frozen peas. It is important to keep your diet consistent.
Avoiding foods that contain vitamin K is not necessary if you are taking warfarin, but talk to your healthcare provider to adjust your dose, how much vitamin K is in your diet, or if you plan to make major changes in your diet.
Other supplements that may cause heart problems, whether or not a person is also taking heart medications:
- Aloe: used internally to relieve constipation and externally to soothe irritated skin and burns. When taken internally, it can lower levels of potassium, so avoid aloe if you take diuretics and digoxin.
- Arnica (Arnica montana): applied externally to reduce pain from bruising, aches, and sprains, and to relieve constipation. Arnica is potentially toxic to the heart and can raise blood pressure if taken internally.
- Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa): used in order to relieve menopausal symptoms. Can lower blood pressure when taken at high doses or with antihypertensive medications.
- Beta carotene: antioxidant thought to fight free radicals (substances that harm the body when left unchecked). Using vitamin supplements that contain beta carotene should be actively discouraged because of an increased risk of death. Choose supplements with mixed carotenes.
- Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium): believed to prevent and treat migraines, arthritis and allergies. Feverfew can interfere with blood clotting when taken internally.
- Ginger: thought to relieve nausea and motion sickness, lower blood cholesterol, decrease platelet aggregation and act as a digestive aid and antioxidant. Ginger can interfere with blood clotting.
- Ginseng (Panax ginseng): thought to slow aging, increase mental and physical capacity, increase sexual performance and boost immunity. It should not be taken by people with hypertension (high blood pressure).
- Nettle (Urtica dioica): thought to fight urinary tract infections, kidney and bladder stones, and rheumatism. It is used externally to control dandruff. Nettle should not be taken by people with fluid retention caused by reduced heart or kidney function.
The FDA's medical products reporting program tracks reports of serious adverse events of products. MedWatch can be contacted at 888.723.3366 (www.fda.gov/medwatch). You can also call the FDA consumer hotline at 1.888.INFO.FDA (1.888.463.6332).
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/12/2019.
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8 foods that boost serotonin naturally
Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that can affect mood. Eating foods that contain the essential amino acid known as tryptophan can help the body to produce more serotonin.
Foods, including salmon, eggs, spinach, and seeds are among those that help boost serotonin naturally.
Serotonin is a chemical found in the brain, blood, intestines, and connective tissues of the human body. It causes blood vessels to contract, helps transmit information across the nervous system, and has a role in brain function.
Serotonin is essential for overall health and wellbeing, and people often associate it with positive mood. But the brain is complex, and further research is needed to find out more about how serotonin works.
Nevertheless, research has linked low serotonin to mood disorders, and it may have a role to play in depression.
Reduced levels of serotonin in the brain may be a cause of memory problems and low mood. Also, low serotonin levels are more ly to affect a person negatively if they have had depression before.
In this article, we look at eight healthful foods that may help boost serotonin. We also cover the difference between serotonin and tryptophan, the importance of carbohydrates, and other tips for boosting serotonin and mood.
Share on PinterestTryptophan enables the production of serotonin.
Tryptophan is an amino acid that is important for the production of serotonin in the body. It is also key to brain function and has a role in healthy sleep.
People cannot make tryptophan in their bodies, so must obtain it from their diet.
Fortunately, tryptophan can be found in food whereas serotonin cannot.
Eating a healthful, balanced diet is an essential way to support mental as well as physical health. Including sources of tryptophan in the diet can have positive benefits on energy levels, mood, and sleep.
Tryptophan, which goes into making serotonin, is commonly found in foods that contain protein. Although meat is often a key source of protein for many people, there are also many vegetarian and vegan sources.
The following foods are good sources of tryptophan:
This oily fish is also a source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for health. These fatty acids can help support strong bones, healthy skin, and eye function.
Salmon is also a source of vitamin D, which is essential for strong bones and teeth, and healthy muscles.
Eating two portions of oily fish per week should provide enough tryptophan for most people. Vegans and vegetarians can get omega-3 from pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and soya.
Poultry includes chicken, turkey, and goose. Lean poultry, such as chicken breast, will usually be high in protein and low in fat.
Some ways of cooking and preparing eggs are more healthful than others. Frying an egg adds a lot of fat, which makes it a less healthful option.
Boiling or poaching an egg does not add any additional fat. Making an omelet and eating it with a salad can be a good option for a light meal.
Dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, are a source of tryptophan.
Spinach is also a good source of iron. Iron helps the body to make healthy red blood cells. A lack of iron in the diet can lead to anemia, low energy, or difficulty breathing.
Share on PinterestSeeds are a plant source of tryptophan.
Seeds do not contain as much tryptophan as oily fish, poultry, or eggs. However, they are a good source of tryptophan and protein for vegetarians and vegans.
Some easy ways to eat more seeds include:
- sprinkling seeds onto a salad
- mixing nuts and seeds for a snack
- choosing seeded bread
- adding seeds to cereal, porridge, or yogurt
Milk is also a good source of calcium, which helps to build healthy bones and teeth.
Choosing a low-fat option can be more healthful than full-fat milk, particularly for people watching their saturated fat intake.
7. Soy products
Products containing soy, such as tofu, soya milk, or soy sauce, are a source of tryptophan. These can be a good option for vegetarians and vegans.
Nuts are a good source of protein, healthful fats, and fiber. Snacking on a few nuts between meals can help a person to feel fuller for longer.
Carbohydrates are one of the body’s main sources of energy. Healthful, nutrient-dense carbohydrate sources include fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain breads and pastas.
The majority of serotonin in the body is made in the gut, while the brain is where a further small amount is made. Tryptophan needs carbohydrates to be able to reach the brain and create serotonin.
Foods that contain tryptophan are most effective if eaten alongside carbohydrates.
A steady supply of energy throughout the day can help to balance mood. Whole grains are digested slowly by the body, which means they release energy gradually. Healthful snacks, such as nuts and seeds or fruit can provide energy between meals.
Drinking plenty of fluids during the day keeps the body and brain hydrated. This is critical for energy levels and correct brain functioning.
Having a healthy gut is vital for the production of serotonin. The following can help promote a healthy gut:
- including prebiotic- and probiotic-rich foods in the diet
- limiting foods that negatively alter gut bacteria, such as artificial sweeteners, trans fats, and processed and refined sugars
There is a link between serotonin and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). People can be affected by SAD during the winter months when there is less daylight. It can cause low mood, lack of energy, and disrupted sleep.
Sunshine may trigger the production of serotonin. So, getting some daylight every day, even in the winter months, could help to improve a person’s mood.
Exercise has benefits for mental as well as physical health. It may reduce the risk of depression and provide an immediate mood boost as it releases endorphins, which help cope with pain or stress.
Feeling positive is often about balance. Diet, exercise, sleep, and a positive outlook are all key elements to improving mood.
- Nutrition / Diet
- Psychology / Psychiatry