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Raising Serotonin Naturally without Calories

Raising Serotonin Naturally without Calories - RESEARCH

Authors: Marcus Free MD, Rouzbeh Motiei-Langroudi MD, and Don Juravin (Don Karl Juravin).

Abstract (Research Summary)

  • Dietary tryptophan supplementation increases brain serotonin (Wurtman 1980).
  • Alpha-lactalbumin, a whey protein rich in tryptophan, increases plasma tryptophan levels and its ratio to other amino acids, possibly enhancing its entrance to the brain (Booij 2006, Markus 2002).
  • Carbohydrates increase and proteins (2% to 4%) decrease serotonin entrance into the brain (Benton 1999).
  • Omega-3 fatty acids like docosahexaenoic acid available in fish and seafood increase brain serotonin levels (Weiser 2015, Deacon 2015, McNamara 2006, Ramos 2005).
  • Other amino acids in foods compete with tryptophan for absorption and entrance to the brain. Therefore, the tryptophan present in usual amounts in protein-rich foods does not increase brain serotonin (Wurtman 1980).
  • Bright light can increase serotonin and prevent mood lowering effects of tryptophan (serotonin precursor) depletion (aan het Rot 2008).
  • Elevated mood is associated with higher serotonin levels (Williams 2006).
  • Elevated mood is associated with higher tryptophan levels (aan het Rot 2006).
  • Exercise increases tryptophan and tryptophan availability to the brain (Davis 2000).
  • Running for 2 hours elevates brain serotonin and plasma tryptophan levels (Chaouloff 1985).

Overview

Elevated brain serotonin levels are necessary for some human functions including elevated ‘happy’ mood and reduced weights. Besides pharmacological interventions that can increase serotonin levels and are therefore useful in the treatment and control of disorders like depression, anxiety, and possibly obesity, there are some non-pharmacologic ‘natural’ ways to increase brain serotonin levels, elevate mood, decrease anxiety and as a result, control appetite and promote weight loss.

Effects of Diet on Serotonin Levels

Serotonin levels in the brain can be increased by dietary modulations including pure tryptophan supplementation, alpha-lactalbumin, omega-3 fatty acid, chocolate, and carbohydrate consumption. In contrary, protein-rich diets prevent tryptophan absorption and entrance into the brain.

  • Dietary tryptophan supplementation increases brain serotonin (Wurtman 1980).
  • Alpha-lactalbumin, a whey protein rich in tryptophan, increases plasma tryptophan levels and its ratio to other amino acids, possibly enhancing its entrance to the brain (Booij 2006, Markus 2002).
  • Carbohydrates increase brain serotonin levels (Wurtman 1995).
  • Carbohydrates increase and proteins (2% to 4%) decrease serotonin entrance into the brain (Benton 1999).
  • Omega-3 fatty acids like docosahexaenoic acid available in fish and seafood increase brain serotonin levels (Weiser 2015, Deacon 2015, McNamara 2006, Ramos 2005).
  • Curcumin (available in the herb Curcuma longa) increases brain serotonin levels (Sanmukhani 2014, Kulkarni 2008).
  • Chocolate has constituents like anandamines, caffeine, phenylethylamine, and magnesium which result in increased serotonin in the brain (Benton 1999).
  • Other amino acids in foods compete with tryptophan for absorption and entrance to the brain. Therefore, the tryptophan present in usual amounts in protein-rich foods does not increase brain serotonin (Wurtman 1980).
  • Serotonin in banana does not enter the brain and thus, does not increase brain serotonin levels (Young 2007).
  • Aspartame, an artificial sweetener, decreases serotonin in many brain regions (Sharma 1987).

Effects of Exposure to Sunlight on Serotonin Levels

Bright light and sunlight is a natural source to increase brain serotonin levels.

  • There is a positive correlation between serotonin synthesis and the hours of exposure to sunlight (Lambert 2002).
  • Brain serotonin levels are higher in summers than winters (Carlsson 1980).
  • Bright light can increase serotonin and prevent mood lowering effects of tryptophan (serotonin precursor) depletion (aan het Rot 2008).

Effects of Elevated Mood on Serotonin Levels

Serotonin increases happiness and elevates mood. In the other hand, elevated mood and happiness also increase brain serotonin levels.

  • Elevated mood is associated with higher serotonin levels (Williams 2006).
  • Elevated mood is associated with higher tryptophan levels, the serotonin precursor (aan het Rot 2006).
  • Self-induced happiness and sadness are associated with increased and decreased serotonin levels in certain brain areas (Perreau-Linck 2007).

Effects of Exercise on Serotonin Levels

Regular exercise (like running for 2 hours) increases and maintains serotonin and tryptophan levels and tryptophan availability to the brain.

  • Exercise increases serotonin and elevates mood (Post 1973).
  • Exercise increases tryptophan and tryptophan availability to the brain (Davis 2000).
  • Running for 2 hours elevates brain serotonin and plasma tryptophan levels (Chaouloff 1985).
  • Running and exercise increase brain serotonin levels in certain brain regions (hippocampus and cortex) (Gomez-Merino 2001, Wilson 1996).
  • The exercise-induced rise in tryptophan persists for hours after termination of exercise (Chaouloff 1986).

References

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  2. aan het Rot, M., Benkelfat, C., Boivin, D., et al. (2008). Bright light exposure during acute tryptophan depletion prevents a lowering of mood in mildly seasonal women. European Neuropsychopharmacology [online], 18 (1), pp. 14-23. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17582745 [Accessed 06.09.2016].
  3. Benton, D., Donohoe, R. (1999). The effects of nutrients on mood. Public Health Nutrition [online], 2 (3), pp. 403-9. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10610080 [Accessed 08.09.2016].
  4. Booij, L., Merens, W., Markus, C., et al. (2006). Diet rich in alpha-lactalbumin improves memory in unmedicated recovered depressed patients and matched controls. Journal of Psychopharmacology [online], 20 (4), pp. 526-35. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16174675 [Accessed 07.09.2016].
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  6. Chaouloff, F., Elghozi, J., Guezennec, Y., et al. (1985). Effects of conditioned running on plasma, liver and brain tryptophan and on brain 5-hydroxytryptamine metabolism of the rat. British Journal of Pharmacology [online], 86 (1), pp. 33-41. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1916847/ [Accessed 06.09.2016].
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  10. Gomez-Merino, D., Béquet, F., Berthelot, M., et al. (2001). Site-dependent effects of an acute intensive exercise on extracellular 5-HT and 5-HIAA levels in rat brain. Neuroscience Letters [online], 301 (2), pp. 143-6. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11248443 [Accessed 07.09.2016].
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  12. Lambert, G., Reid, C., Kaye, D., et al. (2002). Effect of sunlight and season on serotonin turnover in the brain. Lancet [online], 360 (9348), pp. 1840-2. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12480364 [Accessed 06.09.2016].
  13. Markus, C., Olivier, B., de Haan, E. (2002). Whey protein rich in alpha-lactalbumin increases the ratio of plasma tryptophan to the sum of the other large neutral amino acids and improves cognitive performance in stress-vulnerable subjects. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition [online], 75 (6), pp. 1051-6. Available from: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/75/6/1051.long [Accessed 07.09.2016].
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  20. Weiser, M., Wynalda, K., Salem, N., et al. (2015). Dietary DHA during development affects depression-like behaviors and biomarkers that emerge after puberty in adolescent rats. Journal of Lipid Research [online], 56 (1), pp. 151-66. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4274063/ [Accessed 08.09.2016].
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  22. Wilson, W., Marsden, C. (1996). In vivo measurement of extracellular serotonin in the ventral hippocampus during treadmill running. Behavioural Pharmacology [online], 7 (1), pp. 101-4. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11224400 [Accessed 06.09.2016].
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Footnote

This research was sponsored by GLOBESITY FOUNDATION (nonprofit organization) and managed by Don Juravin. GLOBESITY Bootcamp for the obese is part of GLOBESITY FOUNDATION which helps obese with 70 to 400 lbs excess fat to adopt a healthy lifestyle and thereby achieve a healthy weight.

Tags: serotonin, tryptophan, GLOBESITY FOUNDATION, weight-loss, exercise

Points For The Public:

Elevated brain serotonin levels are necessary for some human functions including elevated ‘happy’ mood and reduced weights. These are the natural way:

  1. Dietary tryptophan supplementation increases brain serotonin
  2. Carbohydrates and Omega-3 fatty acids like docosahexaenoic acid available in fish and seafood increase and proteins (2% to 4%) decrease serotonin entrance into the brain
  3. Bright light increases serotonin and prevents mood lowering effects of tryptophan depletion
  4. Exercise and running for 2 hours increase brain serotonin, plasma tryptophan levels, and tryptophan availability to the brain
  5. The elevated mood is associated with higher serotonin and tryptophan levels