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TOPIC: Tips for boosting seratonin

Tips for boosting seratonin 9 years 1 month ago #1

  • konnor
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Hi Maff,

Hope your doing alright.

I wondered what your take on ways to potentially boost serotonin (naturally) would be?

I've read that there could be a link between low serotonin and hypogylcemia, as well as general feelings of 'the blues' with I certainly experience from time to time.

I'm trying to implement as much practical advise that isn't dependent on cost:

- eat fat/protein and a little carbs. Although protein contains trytohphan, it would appear predominantly protein only diets can actually hinder serotonin production.

- fish oils. Not for direct serotonin production but for general mood regulation. I've never bothered with these and the quality of the product varies greatly due to their mass market appeal. Is there a type of fish oil you would recommend?

- Exercise. Not much chance of this one unfortunately! I do what I can without exerting myself and no doubt the tai chi is helping.

- Sleep right. Again, this is being skewed by my underlying problems. Currently trying to sleep as much as possible.

- Supplements. This is what I was curious for your opinion on. 5-HTP and Rhodiola seem to be branded around quite a bit.

Are there any functional tests that may give a clue regarding serotonin levels?

Cheers dude.
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Re:Tips for boosting seratonin 9 years 1 month ago #2

  • Maff
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Hi Matt,

I'm very busy and stressed at the moment being a month into the final year of my bachelor's degree in nutritional health - but battling on!

Hypoglycaemia affects brain function in many ways; the central problem being a lack of fuel for brain cells. Brain cells can only use glucose (blood sugar) whereas other cell types can use fatty acids (and protein if needed). The connection to low serotonin is that the cells of the brain require large amounts of energy to synthesise neurotransmitters such as serotonin and when you are hypoglycaemic these needs are not met so you end up with low serotonin. Hypoglycaemia also triggers the stress response with release of hormones including adrenaline and cortisol which further suppress serotonin production.

You are right that protein only diets or low carb diets can hinder serotonin production. Protein (particularly poultry) provides the amino acid tryptophan from which serotonin is made. However, you also need carbs for this to happen. Eating carbohydrates triggers the release of insulin which causes cells throughout the body to take up all of the amino acids in the blood EXCEPT tryptophan. This means that the tryptophan is free to be used in the synthesis of serotonin. Obviously if you have Candida/gut dysbiosis and need a low carb diet it's a bit of a catch-22. You need to treat the gut dysbiosis.

I have had real trouble raising my own serotonin levels and found the only effective interventions to be getting more sunlight exposure, taking vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) supplements and meditation. 5-HTP, Rhodiola rosea and fish oils (EPA/DHA) have been effective in a number of research studies but haven't helped me personally. 5-HTP is a step closer to serotonin than tryptophan and has been found to be as or more effective than SSRI antidepressant drugs when compared to them in a number of studies. It requires vitamin B6 and other nutrients to be converted to serotonin however and Candida patients seem to be low in B vitamins - most likely as alcohol depletes these vitamins.

Yes there are functional tests for neurotransmitter levels but their reliability is questionable. They often test urine for metabolites of serotonin, dopamine etc. Google 'neurotransmitter testing' and you will find a lot of info.

Back to the subject of raising serotonin you may find these pages on this site useful:

A blog post I wrote - Natural Alternatives to Antidepressant Medications

An article on this specific subject - Easy and Natural Ways to Raise Serotonin Levels<br /><br />Post edited by: Maff, at: 2009/10/25 22:16
If you are going through hell, keep going - Winston Churchill
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Re:Tips for boosting seratonin 9 years 1 month ago #3

  • konnor
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Thanks Maff,

I’m considering additional/alternative angles to my approach for treatment. I had a quick look at my case history which I update regularly and I’m just not fully convinced it originates from a gut problem. The resultant decline in my health may have now created a gut dysbiosis but in the beginning it was purely a blood sugar problem (with post nasal drip). I can see how this happened with the perfectionist/addictive/stressful lifestyle I was leading, contributing to an addiction to carbs and subsequent problems with hypoglycaemia.

I know how busy it can be approaching end of year studies. Don’t feel you need to respond to my queries if you don’t have time! I tend to do a reasonable amount of digging around online anyway.

How have you found the course with regards to quality of the content and hours per week of study time? I’m considering this as an option next year although would have to continue to work to fund it. Does the course cover understanding of both orthadox and functional testing?

When you do get some free time, you might want to have a gander at some of the articles on the Australian Hypoglycemia Association website. The look of the site is a little dated, however it contains some excellent articles about the psychological-biological link of hypoglycaemia that may be of benefit to some visitors here.

www.hypoglycemia.asn.au/

Ta,
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Re:Tips for boosting seratonin 9 years 1 month ago #4

  • Maff
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No problem.

I think it's great that you keep a case history for yourself - you're on your way to being a nutritionist/alternative medicine pratitioner already!

Obviously without knowing your history myself I can't say for sure but hypoglycaemia is typically a symptom or \"secondary condition\" rather than the main problem. It's more likely that an underlying problem caused your blood sugar problems rather than the other way around especially given your age. Stress, bad diet and other such factors do not commonly lead to blood sugar imbalances in someone your age. So just want you to keep this in mind when you are researching. I could of course be wrong in your case. I don't pretend to know everything ;)

Have you had underlying diseases ruled out? Any of the illnesses covered on this site might cause hypoglycaemia as may many other conditions.

Thanks for the link I'll have a look as soon as I have a minute. Perhaps they will contribute some articles to EIR.

The quality of my course has been excellent - which is great in terms of the education I am getting - but not so great for my stress levels with high work loads and standards. We have had lecturers from both orthodox medicine ( e.g. a consultant gastroenterologist) and complementary/alternative medicine as well as those who have crossed over such as Dr. Barry Durrant-Peatfield (those with thyroid/adrenal issues may be familiar with him). Yes the course covers both orthodox and functional testing. Obviously we need to know the orthodox side both to aid us in helping our future clients/patients and to make sure we don't make inappropriate recommendations etc. As it's a degree course I have a dissertation/thesis to write this year which will be a literature review of probiotic use in IBS.

You certainly sound like you'd do well on a similar course but I wouldn't recommend working full-time and doing such an intense degree course. Even the perfectly healthy students who do so are really struggling with the workload!
If you are going through hell, keep going - Winston Churchill
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Re:Tips for boosting seratonin 8 years 3 months ago #5

Exercise is a natural stimulator of many important “mood” hormones, including serotonin and dopamine. Don’t think of exercise as a chore to lose weight or prevent heart disease “someday”. Realize that 15 or 20 minutes of exercise every day will naturally release these feel-good hormones that are so vital to feeling happy and calm. As junior apple Mike A. says, exercise is about feeling good, not just looking good.

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Re:Tips for boosting seratonin 6 years 9 months ago #6

  • george
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Thanks guys...........This was wonderful tip for me.
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