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Serotonin production may be the secret to happiness. With proper serotonin levels in the brain, the brain functions properly, predispositions to negativity and depression are averted and healthful living is possible. As a preventive measure, increasing serotonin production when possible is an effective way to avoid the symptoms of depression. Rather than early intervention or drug therapy after depressive symptoms have occurred, it may be possible to boost serotonin production and avoid going to the dark side altogether.
How can you boost serotonin production on your own without drugs? Think your way to happiness. Studies show that just the act of thinking positively can increase serotonin production and dopamine. There is a suggestion that the mood-serotonin cycle may be circular: serotonin influences mood, mood influences serotonin. This includes meditation as one possible route for increasing serotonin.
Another approach to increasing serotonin production is bright sunlight. It’s an effective treatment for seasonal depression, but also non-seasonal depression. It is a safe treatment for pregnant women with depression.
Exercise is another way to increase serotonin production and mood. There has been demonstrated a relationship between exercise and mood. In the UK, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence recommends that for mild depression exercise should be one treatment. They say that the cost-benefit ratio of taking anti-depressants for mild depression don’t bear out.
The fourth natural factor elevating serotonin is diet. Tryptophan increases brain serotonin production in humans. It is a precursor to the production of serotonin. Unfortunately most food that contain tryptophan (or serotonin for that matter) do not enter the body in a way that can be utilized later by the brain. So the goal is to increase dietary tryptophan in relation to other amino acids. This includes some milk products and some types of corn which have been bred for higher tryptophan content. It hasn’t been proven yet, but tilting the balance toward this amino acid over others may be another strategy in naturally controlling serotonin production.
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