Treating Depression by Increasing the Levels of Serotonin in the Brain—Part II
Oct 05, 2017
Is it really possible to increase the levels of serotonin and decrease depression with food?
In order to understand
this process, you also need to know that serotonin is made by combining
tryptophan and tryptophan hydroxylase. You may not directly be able to
increase the amount of serotonin in the brain but you can increase the
amount of tryptophan by eating foods in certain
optimal combinations. And this will result in a greater production of
- Avoid Eating Only Protein-Rich Foods. Although protein-rich foods contain a lot of tryptophan, eating them can result in a lowering of your levels of serotonin instead of an increase. This is because they increase your blood levels of tryptophan as well as competing amino acids. So although there are greater levels of tryptophan in the blood, it isn’t absorbed by the brain, which ends up taking in the amino acids as well. And when tryptophan levels are lower, less serotonin is produced.
- Combine Carb-Rich Foods with Protein-Rich Foods. If you eat a carb-rich meal at the same time as you consume tryptophan-rich foods, you release a lot of insulin. As a result, most amino acids are absorbed into the body, leaving only high levels of tryptophan going to the brain. And this leads to a greater production of serotonin. So if you want to increase the levels of serotonin in your brain, eat protein-rich foods combined with carb-rich foods.
- Which Foods Are High in Tryptophan? Eggs (especially egg yolks), cheese, pineapples, tofu, salmon, nuts and seeds and turkey are all rich in tryptophan. So if you combine them with some healthy, high-fiber carbohydrates like whole wheat bread or brown rice, you can increase the levels of serotonin in your brain.
Increasing Serotonin Levels with Vitamins