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A healthy mind is necessary to maintain a healthy body. When deficiencies or imbalances of certain chemicals in the brain happen, mental health can deteriorate, affecting all aspects of life. The neurotransmitter serotonin has the function of keeping mood regulated. When the brain is deficient in serotonin, depression, anxiety, and insomnia can set in. There are a wide range of possibilities as to why this may happen, but in any case, using natural supplements that boost serotonin can begin to steer the mind back on the right course. You can choose to take these in the pill form, or add them to your workout mix. Here are ten supplements that are readily available that have been shown to aid in serotonin levels.

1. Tryptophan

This amino acid is found naturally in turkey, grains, and legumes. Tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin production, allowing the brain to more readily produce the neurotransmitter. Protein actually blocks serotonin synthesis, meaning that eating foods containing tryptophan alone won’t help with serotonin levels.

2. SAM(e)

(s-adenosyl methionine): this supplement is derived from another amino acid that naturally occurs in each cell in the body. It can be found over the counter in the U.S. and is sold as a prescription in Europe.

3. Omega-3s

Omega-3 fatty acids are derived from from fish oil, flaxseed, and primrose oil. In a way they act as a supercharger for neurotransmitters’ pulses between synapses in the brain. As a result the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain is able to function more efficiently.

4. St. John’s Wort

Much like Omega-3, St. John’s Wort helps the pulses in nerve endings and synapses to work faster and more efficiently. In addition to overall stronger mental focus, mood will also be regulated due to serotonin being able to flow in the brain smoother.

5. Vitamin D

This vitamin is naturally produced in the body due to sun exposure, yet it remains one of the most commonly deficient vitamins in most people. Lack of Vitamin D has been attributed to depression and anxiety. The vitamin helps the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin, making it especially useful when paired with that supplement as well.

6. Magnesium

This mineral is responsible for hundreds of metabolic functions within the body, including nervous system function. The benefits towards serotonin balance are so strong that this supplement has been used to treat major depressive disorder.

7. Zinc

This is another mineral that helps overall brain function through the aiding of pulses between nerve endings. Zinc increases the uptake of serotonin in parts of the brain, resulting in higher levels and increased mood.

8. Vitamins B6, B9 and B12

These are vitamins that work in synergy with other supplements to boost serotonin levels. Vitamin B6 is necessary in converting tryptophan into serotonin and vitamins B9 and B12 are needed for SAMe to be usable by the brain.

9. L-theanine

Another amino acid, this supplement is derived from green and black teas. L-theanine has been shown to increase serotonin levels and increase resilience to stress.

10. Curcumin

This supplement is derived from the spice tumeric and has been shown to increases levels of serotonin and dopamine. The bioavailability of curcumin is not very high, so look for supplements that contain other supplements to aid in its absorption.

Depression is a complex issue that, while resulting from deficiencies in serotonin, often needs professional consultation to treat properly. It’s important to note that if you are prescribed antidepressants, taking supplements derived from amino acids can actually have a detrimental effect. Be sure to explore your options and figure out what works best for you and makes your mind and body feel best.