How to Raise Serotonin Deficiency Levels

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Serotonin escorts chemical messages from one cell to the next. These messages often involve many different physiological processes, which include regulating sleep cycles along with stabilizing behavior and mood. Serotonin levels may drop when production levels slow. The body may have fewer serotonin receptors than needed. The receptors might also not have sufficient capability to capture and hold the compound. Other possible reasons for depleted levels include the chemical breaking down or being absorbed too quickly. There are various ways to increase serotonin production.

Bright Light

Going out into the sunshine for 15 to 20 minutes or longer not only helps the body create vitamin D but has also been shown to stimulate serotonin production. When sunshine is not available, many turn to light boxes to treat depression or seasonal affective disorders. The boxes emit variable amounts of light and have different lux ratings. Light boxes are designed to either sit on a tabletop or come with a stand. The key to using the device involves sitting close enough so the light shines directly into the eyes.


Our ancient ancestors were hunter-gatherers and probably spent the better part of each day engaged in some type of physical activity. Some researchers theorize that current sedentary lifestyles may largely contribute to emotional and mental disorders. Exercise does not have to involve a boring ritual of calisthenics. Turn on the stereo and dance briskly for 15 to 20 minutes. Maybe consider going for a fast walk or a bike ride. When the weather is not agreeable, you might think about getting a few friends to join you at the local gym and try the various available machines. Facilities also often offer the chance to participate in cardiovascular healthy workout programs.

Dietary Needs

The brain and intestines manufacture serotonin by converting the amino acid tryptophan. The substance is then transported throughout the body. Tryptophan containing foods are typically rich in iron, protein, riboflavin and vitamin B6. Good sources of the amino acid include cheese, eggs, nuts and seeds, poultry, soy products and salmon. However, while eating these foods raise serotonin levels, that does not guarantee that the compound reaches the brain.

The body considers serotonin less important than other substances needed by the brain. In effect, the influx of other chemical compounds may inhibit tryptophan from entering. Increasing insulin levels by eating carbohydrates moves these compounds out of the way as they enter cells with the help of insulin. Insulin does not interact with the amino acid. Ensuring that tryptophan makes a successful journey involves eating carbohydrates. Nevertheless, resist the urge to eat high-fat, high-sugar processed fast foods and snacks. Consider fruits, vegetables and whole grains alone or incorporated into healthy meals and snacks.

Cite this page: N., Sam M.S., "How to Raise Serotonin Deficiency Levels," in, February 21, 2016, (accessed October 4, 2022).