Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
17 Apr

10 Quick Tips to Boost Your Serotonin

This week’s Tuesday Ten features simple tips to make your brain hum. You’ll feel so great, you’ll be looking down on Cloud 9.

Before we get to it, a word to the wise about serotonin:

There is quite the plethora of mood-elevating, serotonin-enhancing products and drugs available. If you don’t want to go the Prozac route, there are many excellent natural methods for boosting your mood. Indeed, many studies have shown that natural methods like exercise may be just as effective as traditional drug therapies. (However, in some cases, depression can become so severe, there’s simply no food or supplement that is going to “cure” you. I like to remind my readers that it’s always important to consult an expert before embarking on your own curative adventure.)

But for light cases of the blues, or stressful days, there are plenty of things you can do to elevate that feel-good hormone, serotonin:

10. Avoid the fast track to happiness.

Carbohydrates give you an instant lift because they trigger the release of serotonin. Indeed, I’ve seen several articles lately actually recommend eating a sugary treat to boost your mood and sleep better. Bad advice (see Dr. Weil’s take). Carbs are a quick fix, but they do nothing to stimulate ongoing production of serotonin, which is what you want.

9. Don’t avoid carbs entirely.

Proteins contain tryptophan, a large amino that converts to serotonin in the brain. (I’ll be discussing tryptophan supplements in the future.) Yet relying solely on protein can hamper serotonin production. Though scientists aren’t sure why this is, it makes sense that subsisting entirely on one macro-nutrient might cause problems for brain chemistry.

Tryptophan works best when consumed in conjunction with a small bit of carbohydrate, such as a scoop of brown rice, a handful of nuts, or a few tablespoons of legumes. These complex carbohydrates are essential to helping your brain properly process the tryptophan in protein. Vegetables are also great – and my preference.

8. Eat protein.

Turkey, fish, chicken, cottage cheese, nuts, cheese, eggs, and beans all contain generous levels of tryptophan.

protein

7. Eat fat.

Hormonal processes require essential fatty acids, so don’t shirk your “good fats”. Get plenty of DHA-enhanced eggs and dairy in your diet, and eat fish a few times a week. Good sources are wild salmon, mackerel, and tuna. You vegheads can also nosh on avocados, nuts, flaxseed, vegetable oils (walnut, avocado, almond, flax, olive) and seeds.

6. Take a fish oil supplement!

Though fish oil won’t produce serotonin, essential fatty acids play a vital role in brain health and mood regulation. I recommend Vital Omegas, of course, but there are plenty of good ones on the market. As with most things, you do get what you pay for, so buy the best you can afford.

5. Exercise to feel good.

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.

4. Avoid the stimulant cycle.

Caffeine, sugar, alcohol. Caffeine, sugar, alcohol. Many of us get trapped in the stimulant cycle. These substances temporarily give you a lift, but actually deplete and blunt valuable hormones in the long run. If you like caffeine, try to limit your java intake to one or two cups a day at the most. The same for alcohol. I recommend avoiding sugar completely.

3. Sleep right.

When we’re feeling down, it’s tempting to sleep, sleep and sleep some more. But quality sleep is far more important than quantity. Force yourself to get up early, but allow for a rejuvenating nap midday if you need it (just don’t exceed one hour). The same goes for stressed-out workaholics getting by on 5 or 6 hours of sleep a night. Find a way to get an extra hour (hey, that sounds like another Tuesday 10 to me!).

2. Investigate supplements wisely.

HTP is a popular supplement, but I personally prefer rhodiola, which actually slows the process of serotonin breakdown (it also has better scientific backing).

1. Boost other hormones!

Oxytocin is another feel good hormone often called the “cuddle hormone”. Oxytocin is released when we feel love, trust and comfort. It can be even more powerful than serotonin. If you need a lift, remember the power of simply spending time with your significant other or family members and friends.

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Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. one of the highest levels are found in walnuts…..instead of going for Prozac go for walnuts…..natural way to boost up and charge ur mood…..chao!!!

    faisal malik wrote on November 21st, 2007
    • Have one child and five stepchildren..craving walnuts…I guess my body knows best!

      franny wrote on November 20th, 2009
    • Thanks.

      Edward wrote on June 1st, 2011
    • There’s also a compound in Walnuts (though I don’t remember what) that actually *reverses* joint damage/deterioration! Great news for everyone, especially the overweight, runners, and those suffering from Arthritis.

      Joseph wrote on October 19th, 2011
      • A handful in oatmeal every morning with cinnamon after heavy weightlifting too.

        Steve wrote on March 9th, 2013
    • Dear
      I have found nicotin worstly effect serotonin level.In brain. Nicotin generate opposit chemicals of happy and good feel. It has to be found.By Researcher in brain chemistry whatever chemicals in brain generate nicotine for feeling bad

      Nazeer wrote on April 22nd, 2012
      • You’re absolutely wrong. Nicotine has many beneficial effects, including some therapeutic

        Viv wrote on June 14th, 2014
  2. Very informative article, and website. Thank you.
    Myself (58) and mom (86) have had an ongoing eye issue for years that I cannot seem to get to the bottom of. I do kinesiology and have tested galore to no avail. I got into Hannah Krogers book which led me to my large intestines for myself taking a product called “circuflow” with Aloe vera. Doesn’t seem to totally cure the problem. What direction would you suggest I go?
    Thank you
    Ellen
    yer-it@wizwire.com

    Ellen Terrell wrote on April 7th, 2008
  3. Also, there’s a supplement called 5-HTP that aids in serotonin synthesis. It is marketed for those with depression or insomnia, but I have neither of those and take it regularly, and it just generally makes me feel a little better. There are no side effects, doesn’t make you loopy, and I’ve gone for period without it, but its definitely nice to have to enhance your life.

    Aaron B. wrote on May 30th, 2008
    • 5htp is actually nearly worthless for elevating serotonin in the brain. 5htp is converted in the liver when taken as a supplement and actually just increases levels in your blood stream(very little crosses the blood-brain barrier) which can actually cause heart complications

      jon wrote on August 5th, 2010
      • It depends on dosage, condition and mostly quality. If you have a heart valve issue, no you don’t take this. It’s not a miricle – you have to eat healthy, live healthy and exercise. If you don’t have Bi-polar disorder, I highly recomend SAM-e…You may very well have heart problems to begin with. Good Luck!

        pamela wrote on July 27th, 2012
      • This just sounds like your opinion. Research shows that 5-htp crosses the bbb quite well

        Craig cousineau wrote on May 2nd, 2013
    • I tried 5-HTP it realy helps in begining (first 3 days) but then i got contraindications and they were very bad. Caution people!

      Marko wrote on November 16th, 2010
      • Iv’e taken 5 HTP and it seemed to work but you also have to change your diet and exercise. Also remember that everyone’s body is different so 5 HTP might not work for everyone just like certain foods people are allergic to. It’s all about finding what is right for you. :)

        Lauren wrote on March 3rd, 2012
    • Think again there are some very serious side effects!! First it’s been known to cause death due to a contaminate that is associated with the stuff. It’s banned in some countries for a good reason. NO ONE ON ANTI-DEPRESSANTS SHOULD EVER TAKE THIS! Also people who are diabetic should not take this “supplement”
      It is well known to interact in a serious or deadly way with other medications. Look it up for yourself.

      Paula wrote on March 13th, 2012
    • Webmd says not to use it until more is known about it. That it might be unsafe.
      http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-794-5-HTP.aspx?activeIngredientId=794&activeIngredientName=5-HTP

      Barbara Aziz wrote on May 21st, 2012
    • ? about the 5 htp, do u think it is safe to take everyday, or everynight

      Cindy P wrote on July 9th, 2013
  4. Good information although it is commonsense. Sometime commonsense does work

    steve wrote on June 7th, 2008
  5. Thank you, You’ve helped

    Deborah wrote on July 28th, 2008
  6. Regarding #8

    via WebMD

    “Protein-rich foods, such as meat or chicken, contain high levels of tryptophans. Tryptophan appears in diary foods, nuts, and fowl. Ironically, however, levels of both tryptophan and serotonin drop after eating a meal packed with protein. Why? According to nutritionist Elizabeth Somer, when you eat a high-protein meal, you “flood the blood with both tryptophan and its competing amino acids,” all fighting for entry into the brain. That means only a small amount of tryptophan gets through — and serotonin levels don’t rise.”

    hypatia wrote on October 28th, 2008
    • I’ve read that you need to eat carbs as well to make best use of the tryptophan. A carb snack about 2hrs after the protein, will boost the following day.

      Much more about serotonin increase I’ve found in this medical journal publication:
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2077351/

      D wrote on December 31st, 2010
      • That’s a fascinating National Institute of Health article, thanks. Eating high protein foods like turkey, dairy and eggs don’t result in more seratonin, because high protein among other things, blocks the tryptophan from the brain. It reminds me of how we’re told to eat dairy for calcium, but the high protein diet leaches calcium from the bones. Greens are the best way to get calcium, We know from studying their bones, that prehistoric man got twice the calcium as modern Americans, while eating no dairy at all, they got their calcium from greens. After 36 years of a near-vegan diet, while not taking calcium supplements, now 58, I’ve been told I have perfect bones, although I have all the risk factors for osteoporosis (small frame, light eyes, etc). I did however eat my vegetables.

        So, If you want more serotonin, eat tryptophan-rich vegan foods, exercise to fatigue, be grateful and see that part of the glass that’s half full, and get enough bright light, open the shades at home, and get outside for at least 90 minutes a day.

        Friend of Critters wrote on July 17th, 2011
        • you should really consider changing ur eating habits.every vegan i have ever seen looked very unhealthy.and know of one person who had to be admitted into the hospital for megaloblasitc anemia.
          you should try eating meat and dairy for a while i guarauntee! that you will feel,look,and be much much healthier!

          gary wrote on July 26th, 2011
        • I was wondering how you know prehistoric man ate many greens. I don’t remember much of any greens mentioned in bible other than seeds, mustard etc. I was just thinking of this awhile back, when learning our body don’t have some enzymes to break down some foods. It seems to me if we were not create with those enzymes, maybe were not made to eat them? (can’t remember right off, but was some kind of veg) just a quick thought, would like to know for sure.

          Linda wrote on November 5th, 2011
        • Really? Do you mean neanderthals or our ancestors? (they aren’t the same thing)

          Paula wrote on March 13th, 2012
        • I eat mostly vegetables and about 3 ozs of chicken, fish or turkey. My ph level is 7.5 or 8 most of the time. Hopefuly my bone density test comes out ok. You have good knowledge of bone growth. I’m just learning, after 20 years of fractures and lots of pain. Learning of what the osteoporosis drugs do to the body, I quit taking them. The last one, I took was Forteo. (causes bone cancer after taking it for two years) That scared me. No more of that.

          Patty wrote on January 8th, 2013
        • Hey gary.I recommend you change your tone.There is absolutely nothing wrong with not eating dairy or meat.As a matter of fact animal based protein is known to cause many different kinds of cancer.And many many many years ago when man did not have the resources to hunt kill and cook animal to eat, they ate fresh fruit and vegatables(plant based proteins).which are very much good for you.Statistics and articles can show you the proof to that.Considering cancer rates have increased tremendously over the last several decades.Do some research before you open your mouth and try to school someone on health.Thanks have a great day:)

          Tahlia wrote on April 16th, 2013
        • To Linda,
          You obviously didn’t get very far in your Bible reading… “And God went on to say: ‘Here I have given you all vegetation bearing seed which is in the surface of the whole earth and every tree on which there is the fruit of a tree bearing seed’. To you let it serve as food.” Genesis 1:29. BTW, Genesis is the first book of the Bible, and these words were spoken to Adam, the first man. God’s permission to eat meat is not mentioned until after the flood in Noah’s day -1500 years later according to Bible chronology.

          I can’t begin to go into all the harvest festivals mandated in the Mosaic Law. (FYI: Mosaic = ‘of Moses’) Wheat, barley, etc. Then there are all the references to grapes, olives, dates, etc.

          And one should not forget the story of the young Daniel (in the prophetic book of the same name) and his three friends who were captives in Babylon and refused to eat the meaty “delicacies” of the King but insisted on a diet if vegetables.

          I am not trying to suggest that the Bible approves or disapproves of a vegetarian diet, but…

          When you act like you know about the Bible and you really don’t, it just makes the Bible look bad and you look stupid.

          Lily wrote on May 16th, 2013
      • thanks so much for sharing this article, it is excellent and has sound info!

        june wrote on February 3rd, 2013
  7. Hi, alcohol isn’t a stimulant.

    Alistair R wrote on November 14th, 2008
    • I’m sure this commenter is long gone, but alcohol does have stimulant affects as it is being metabolized by the body, although it initially depresses the central nervous system. Alcohol can keep you awake and make you rise earlier than you want/need to.

      Sara wrote on April 25th, 2011
      • its why i wake up 3 hours after i booze up and wonder why im up so early.

        paul wrote on February 3rd, 2012
      • Yes ,thats true , I wake up always super early if I drink even 2-3 drinks at nite and feel very restless .

        Deniz K wrote on January 29th, 2013
      • Sleep stuff is not about stimulation but about GABA receptors triggered by alcohol – phases of sleep changes, so our sleep is short and not healthy. Alcohol stimulates CNS on the beggining, not later.

        Krzysiu wrote on March 22nd, 2013
      • Alcohol is a depressant. It artificially anesthetizes the brain. The brain struggles to overcome this sedation so much, that u become wide awake at 3am. Been there too much!

        Marilyn biederstadt wrote on May 23rd, 2013
        • Alcohol was shown to increase brain serotonin levels so in that regard it is acting as a stimulant

          Yaseen wrote on December 31st, 2013
    • K so I stick with all these comments and get to yours and I snort laughed good stuff man! Hi lol

      E wrote on July 21st, 2011
      • Are you high or something.Your whole paragraph was out of order completely.IT made no sense at all.

        Tahlia wrote on April 16th, 2013
    • Yes it is alcohol is a stimulant… Rum for example is pure decayed sugar and they add sometimes artifical flavors to cover the taste … I dont understand why you say alcohol is a stimulant, NEXT TIME DO SOME RESEARCH BEFORE YOU THINK SOMETHING IS DIFFERENT!!!
      Sincerly,
      Lulu

      Lulu Kolez wrote on February 6th, 2012
      • I hate to burst your power trip bubble, but alcohol is a depressant. Cigarettes are a stimulant…heroin is a depressant…cocaine is a stimulant. Anything that makes your heart race is a stimulant…anything that makes you drowsy is a depressant. Read a book or two and look up NIDA, FDA, and other organizations that talk about drugs, their classes and their reactions. You can also check out the DEA website and most other federal or local police information sites that will inform you before you make an arse of yourself.

        libby wrote on September 22nd, 2013
        • Gee willakers Libby, alcohol makes my heart race! What say you to that??!!

          G.K. wrote on November 22nd, 2013
        • Are you arguing with having just one example–you? It may be so for various reasons. Just check wiki, as far as I know biologically it’s really a depressant

          Viv wrote on June 14th, 2014
    • Actualy liquor is a stimulant, however you may be talking about wine or beer…

      pamela wrote on July 27th, 2012
      • Alcohol (yes that means all forms) is a central nervous system depressant.

        Anon wrote on August 27th, 2012
  8. Hahaha… this is a good one, I’ll recommend this one some of my friends.

    Dr. Henry wrote on January 12th, 2009
  9. When did alcohol become a stimulant? Here I was thinking it was a CNS depressant.

    I guess I’ll take the rest of your advice with a grain of salt too.

    Steven wrote on February 6th, 2009
    • He only refers to alcohol as a stimulant in that he includes it in the ‘stimulant cycle’, which would hardly be a cycle if it didn’t contain a depressant (as in sugar, alcohol, caffine; up, down, up makes a cycle).

      LadyDreamgirl wrote on June 22nd, 2009
      • Also, since alcohol depresses a certain part of the brain and boosts inhibition, it is indeed stimulating at low doses.

        Haven’t you seen rowdy drunk people ? Drunks get sedated and sleepy when they’ve had too much, but before that it’s pretty stimulating.

        Matt Haydon wrote on August 15th, 2009
        • What the hell do you think people drink for?Stimulation….at social events.It gets people hype and it motivates them to do things, have fun.So yes it is most definitely a stimulant.Now when you get sloppy drunk the stimulation is too overwhelming and you can’t focus on any one thing.Just like if you take too much of anything.Pills.Like serotonin reuptake inhibitors.It stimulates serotonin to make you happier but if you take too much it will cause serotonin syndrome.Which is deadly.People who have no self-control know no limits.They are more likely to be the ones who overdose on stimulants like alcohol.

          Tahlia wrote on April 16th, 2013
        • While I agree with Tahlia’s opinion about taking too much, alcohol is in science indeed considered to be a depressant, as far as I know. But I understand that some people may call it a stimulant because it stimulates some things.

          However, I totally perceive it as a downer. 1-2 shots and I’m dizzy and tired, same as weed. And I don’t like that much, stims are more fun for me.

          Viv wrote on June 14th, 2014
    • I agree.

      Sherry wrote on September 26th, 2010
    • Oh it stimulates some things!

      Dave, RN wrote on December 18th, 2012
  10. Now I am a strong advocate for the use of marijuana because it does make people happy when there is little to be happy about. But this completely falls into your segment for number 10, and I think it should be included even if you don’t agree with its use, and perhaps added to the stimulant section as well.

    After quitting smoking it took several days to get my emotional state back to its regular level. I had a few emotional out breaks dealing with a very tedious homework assignment that resulted in a broken piece on my desk, hah. Continual use causes NO DEPENDENCY OR ADDICTION, but I will be the first to admit as a emotion altering drug it leaves a hole in the continuity of my happiness, and when I am happy without the drug it is the difference between eating a McDonald’s dollar menu burger and a fat black Angus burger freshly ground at the store.

    RunTimeErrorBoy wrote on February 7th, 2009
    • i used cannabis for years to cope with inner city living. when i moved to the county i stopped needing it. so i stopped smoking. stop the tobacco as well.
      now i’m looking for an alternative to ritalin for my adhd son. i wonder if anyone has any info on the use of cannabis for treating adhd?
      thanks.

      Léa ROHAN wrote on October 19th, 2010
      • how about homeopathic doses of cannabis? interesting thought, no?

        Léa ROHAN wrote on October 19th, 2010
      • While I didn’t use marijuana with the desired outcome of helping alleviate the stress and frustration of adhd, I found that it happened to be a happy accident. I found that having one tiny toke helped my brain slow down enough to be able to concentrate on one task, rather than being concerned and worried about 19 other things all at the same time, which led to feeling overwhelmed and not knowing where to begin, and eventually never getting anything done. I am now 38 and rarely smoke marijuana at all, if ever. If I do, it must be something that gives me more of that “up” buzz, and not something that makes you want to listlessly stare at the tv and make senseless, idiotic comments. Again, I find that extremely small doses are helpful, while also finding my own comments skeptical. Everyone is different and there is no one cure-all for adhd. Overall, when I learned how to keep myself on a regular schedule of sleep, a well balanced diet, and regular exercise regiment, my situation improved across the board, although there are still some days that I need some help and wish I had some pot. Like you, I lived in an inner city environment (still do) and found that smoking marijuana helped filter out the unnecessary and stressful stimulation, allowing me to concentrate on what I wanted to concentrate on and needed to concentrate on. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the city; I still live downtown and love every second of it. I really hope this helps in some way. Growing up, I cannot tell someone without adhd how stressful it can be to a child to want to express their thoughts and have it be on the tip of the tongue or the brain wanting to let you release that thought, and it just won’t. It’s certainly stressful and annoying for the person(s) you’re having a conversation with, but 10 times more so for the person with adhd. I recently ended a recently ended a relationship with a particularly demanding person who could not, and didn’t even want to consider trying to understand, what it was like living with adhd. The day she snapped her fingers in my face because I was distracted by tons of external distractions after having nothing to eat and virtually no sleep, it was over. Also, there seems to be no rhyme or reason to those days of particularly overwhelming bouts of adhd. There are days that can follow a particularly normal schedule of sleep, exercise, diet, etc., and I still wake up feeling confused and lost. Those are the days that I wish I had a little pot around. Maybe it’s the boost in dopamine that helps. My overall concern with keeping it around all the time is that I will use it as a crutch to depend upon.

        Jindrak wrote on January 6th, 2011
        • My cousin went off his meds for ADHD at that age of 12. His parents did the research when he expressed his desire to be non drug dependent and found year long team sports were one of the effective ways to go for self treatment. He signed up for hockey as it had two seasons for children and high school levels. He had not had a issues with his ADHD since and he is now in his mid twenties. Excessive exercise is not for everyone. If you have asthma, like my girl, it is not a valuable treatment for her ADHD. But she is not on stimulant drugs instead on a different drug therapy. Along with quite a few of the above advice for serotonin only wish I could get her to eat any greens or nuts other than peanuts and get her to quit caffeine but her natural mother keeps buying her Monsters and Mt Dew to drink from sun up to sun down when she has her and is not willing to understand the side effects and counter actions to her meds.

          Angela wrote on July 3rd, 2013
      • My son takes Gaba. It’s not a drug and it helps him with his neurotransmitters so that he can focus and be calm. Of course his calm at 10 years old is pretty wild to an old person but it looks calm to his parents. Acts like a typical 10 y o, they all think they can fly, leap tall buildings and do anything else Superman could, of course. Might be worth a try for you to check out.

        2Rae wrote on July 3rd, 2013
    • I appreaxiate your “thoughts” but i personally believe people who need it medically and not people who just do marijauana for fun.BUT AI ALSO BELIEVE THAT no one should be drinking or consuming any kind of drug. these things mess u up!!!

      Lulu Kolez wrote on February 6th, 2012
  11. marijuana is addictive! i know many people who go nuts if they cant get their regular dose!

    madduck wrote on February 25th, 2009
    • Weed is not physically addictive.look it up. Your friends may have a mental addiction but that it.its in there minds your body does not have withdrawls from weed.

      michelle wykel wrote on July 29th, 2009
      • Hmm…. I would have to tell you, first, that any kind of drugs or drinks that can alter (raise) neurotransmittor levels, are considered addictive. If you don’t already know, the good ol’ “THC” in pot will cause your dopamine (neurotransmittor) levels and phenethylamine (neurotransmittor) levels to 4 to 5 fold, at least…. Pot, in my humble….opinion, would be considered physically(chemically)addictive.

        Hi there. I'm Lance wrote on July 9th, 2010
        • No more so than chocolate.

          sensical wrote on May 26th, 2011
        • I have done drugs people call addictive and drugs people call pot. Let’s just all agree addiction and physical dependency are two different animals ENTIRLY! There have been times I would lie to a nun for a joint, but I wouldn’t be lying to a nun with puke breath and really nasty skid marks. CHAO!

          Dasae wrote on January 9th, 2013
        • I agree.Its no more addicting than chocolate.Real cocoa is actually has many wonderful hormones in it including serotonin and dopamine.Ya know aztecs use to consume it daily and use it as a drug.They would get high off of Cocoa beans.A natural high.So, sugar doesn’t help with boosting serotonin or dopamine but real raw cocoa does.You can find it in the tropics.And apparently so does cannabis.I highly recommend it to anyone.A friend of mine has smoked it for years and he has severe adhd.It really helps him alot.He can multi-task, it calms him, makes him happy, lowers his stress level and he is the smartest person ive ever met.

          Tahlia wrote on April 16th, 2013
      • Weed is addictive.

        Karls wrote on July 5th, 2011
      • Anyone who thinks weed is no big deal because its not physically addictive needs to take a long hard look at some hardcore junkies, hit a meeting or two… Crack heads and dope fiends get locked up or institutionalized all the time, suffer the withdrawls and get released and go right back BECAUSE when it all boils down psychological addiction is all that matters. people didnt start using a substance because they were physically addicted and they wont stop just to reap the benefits of not waking up sick. You have to WANT IT and wanting something isn’t produced by anything physical. It’s an attribute of the mind, not to be confused with the brain. In closing PLEASE DONT LET PEOPLE WHO SAY SMOKING WEED IS OKAY -CUZ YOU WONT GET SICK IF YOU DONT HAVE IT -INFLUENCE YOU AT ALL… Find a different way to cope with your emotions or disorders or what have you
        Thanx, Mikey

        Mike wrote on November 20th, 2012
        • Lol, weed smokers are a bit different than crack heads. And I agree that people who use it to cope with their emotions need to find a better way, it shouldn’t be the only solution. But are you going to say the same things about someone who smokes a joint when they get off of their 12 hour day at work? What about a couple beers? Weed being illegal distorts peoples view of how HARMLESS it is. Just seriously, look at tobacco and alcohol. I’m so tired of everyone getting so worked up about pot when the LEGAL drugs are far, far, far, far FARRRR worse.

          Lauren wrote on November 21st, 2012
        • You know nothing of cannabis.I myself do not smoke.Ever.i never smoke it.I have a few times in my past.I think it is completely natural to smoke or consume cannabis.i have a few family members that do but only as needed.They dont get high and lazy all day.They take a hit and pain goes away or their mood boost.It just depends on what type of marijuana you smoke.Their are so many different kinds.Marijuana is an herb.A natural herb.Just like oregano basil parsley.Lettuce.It is natural.Does not cause any health condition if consumed correctly, As goes for anything consumable. There are very many benefits to smoking marijuana.I know very successful people who smoke cannabis.And i believe that it is a huge factor in why they are so successful.You should do research before you speak.I use to be completely against any and every stereotypical drug. Over the years people have put drugs into different categories of severity.The truth is either it is good or it is bad.And there has been no scientific research that states cannabis is bad for you.It is a natural plant.NOW COCAINE may come from a plant but it is man made there are other chemicals involved just like in meth.People put their own ingredients in that including gas.I hate hearing people bash marijuana just because they dont consume it theirself.Its like saying oranges aren’t good just because you dont like them.Which is wrong.”I dont like oranges or anyone who eats them.” Thats silly.Be more open-minded.like i said i dont consume marijuana but i give props and support to anyone who does responsibly.It helps many people with health issues in several ways.

          Tahlia wrote on April 16th, 2013
    • Pot is “non addictive.” Pot help me quit smoking tobacco easily. I smoke Mary Jane twice a year. If I would just have one cegarette through out the hole year, ‘I’d indeed start chain smoking. Marijuana should be sold like alcohol is sold. Scientest has proven that one glass of wing a day is healthy. Scientest also have proven that marijuna has allot of healthy value for the body. It’s proven that alcohol can cause cancer in you’re oropharynx and liver over long period of use. No research has proven that marijuana causes cancer. What I’m trying is to say is that marijuna should be considered a herb that can be baught over the counter. You can buy a powerul stimulant called “pseudoephrine” behind any pharmacy. This drug is designed for sinus releaf. Although, this drug is used for making methamphentamine, which is a powerful stimulant and highly addictive. My question is, “why is marijuna not legalized?”

      Tom wrote on June 6th, 2011
      • Please be real. My BF smokes every day just like a tobacco smoker he lights up a couple times a day. If he is out he is just as cranky as someone who can’t get smokes. Their is addiction and then their is addiction. Anyone can become addicted to anything. I know lots of people who toke and smoke and I see no difference between them. They are both bad for human use. Hmmm.. Setting something on fire and sucking the smoke into our lungs? it is not a good thing. Exception is medical stuff for medical reasons and then I am all for it.

        Paula wrote on March 14th, 2012
        • Really? Really. You can get addicted to cheeseburgers, masturbation, sex, or whatever you can think of. If someone becomes addicted to something there is a deeper root problem. It could have been anything that they would have chosen as a relief to their grudge, instead your BF chose weed. So please, stop with the nonsense and really start to think. Weed has so many benefits, and it is not harmful if used correctly. Just because you don`t know enough about it does not give you right to babble and bad mouth it. Eat some mushrooms and open your mind woman. Weed could solve a lot of the issues in this world if people used it as their regular substance compared to alcohol. I am not saying that is an option, but if it was legal it would help more people than it would hurt. I did my whole school year at vancouver film school high, and I got 85+ out of 100 in almost every course. It does not make you lazy. Why? Because there are more than one kinds of weed. Sativas and indica. Indica can be used for heavy pains, for sleeping problems etc. Sativas are mostly head highs and can easily be used while doing everyday things. Nuff said.

          james wrote on November 1st, 2012
        • Anyone can become addicted to anything.IT all just depends on their personality and whether they have an addictive personality.The truth is cannabis has many benefits.Research it.For most people it is not about being high.As a matter of fact most people only take a hit for pain issues or depression or anxiety.It just depends on the person.People really need to be more open-minded.I dont smoke it but i support anyone who does for their own personal issues.Its not for anyone else to judge.

          Tahlia wrote on April 16th, 2013
        • I totally agree with Tahlia. I’m sorry if someone has problems because of weed, but science says it’s not really a big problem and I personally know many people who smoke it and only very few who ever had some problems because of it. I would even go so far to call uninteresting drug, not even fun for me.

          Viv wrote on June 14th, 2014
      • Weed is actually illegal for anything but it’s narcotic benefits. It’s the fact that it can also be used to make oil (plastics & fuel), fibre, building material and a whole heap of other uses without the need for pesticide or petro-chemicals and threatens a whole myriad industrial cartels. Check out Jack Herer’s ‘The Emporer wears no clothes’, amazing social history and inspiration for the term “Gift from the Gods”.

        marco wrote on July 2nd, 2012
        • Actually it was Hearst who provided 90% of the money to ban hemp. At the time there were two forms of newspaper. Hemp and wood based paper. Hearst bought an almost monopoly share of the lumber companies in the early 1900s and then went to work using his already tried and true method of yellow journalism to pump up the prohibitionists to campaign against “that vial drug.” Only 1% of the population even knew was a drug until then. Most people used hemp products from their bathrooms to their garages every single day not even realizing it was made from the same stuff that they ended up voting to do away with.

          Now that it is illegal a much larger population uses it and as with the bootleggers it is the drug cartels who do not want it legalized contributing money to the anti drug candidates. It makes more money being illegal than if it became a regular crop again. I am starting to see hemp products again but it is not grown by US farmers who could be growing that instead of the over amounts of corn that ends up subsidized and then as HFC in every processed food sold in this country. And when scientists have isolated the THC producing gene cross breading industrial hemp to not even produce THC. US scientists did this and yet US still won’t let it be grown here.

          Angela wrote on July 3rd, 2013
  12. Great article!

    Miha Otrob wrote on March 6th, 2009
  13. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful and beneficial to your readers :)

    Hearing Aids wrote on June 3rd, 2009
  14. Weed for happiness ? I don’t know about that. I ate psilocibyn mushrooms when I was depressed. That cured me better than anything can. I can just summon happy feelings any time of day I want and bam. Like getting a shot with a vial of happy juice – if such existed. Marijuana can cause mood swings this is true. It is addictive but this is because it is so good. Imagine you were having sex with the most attractive partner. Wouldn’t you get all angry if some one suddenly told you you cannot see them anymore? And you wouldn’t you do almost anything to get back together? People fall in “love” with the high.
    I am not a trained professional of course (though this just make me less biased..) so take my words how you will.

    Joe Pothead wrote on June 6th, 2009
    • I took hydroponic shrooms just over a week ago and now im starting to get depression anxiety and uncontrollable fear over nothing.
      This happen to anyone else before? And if so, how long should I expect to feel this effect for a one time use?

      Jordan Conrad wrote on June 14th, 2010
      • There’s no such thing as hydroponic shrooms. Shrooms are a fungus not a plant and therefore cannot grow hydroponically.

        Weed will raise your serotonin levels for an hour or 2, but unless you smoke more they gonna drop. The trick is to smoke all day every couple hours, then let your serotonin levels rise back to normal while you sleep, then you’ll always be happy :)

        dave wrote on February 25th, 2011
      • This happened to me one time after a “bad trip”. it lasted for a couple weeks then I felt normal again. I think it’s just a normal reaction to a heavy event.

        Ian wrote on March 21st, 2011
      • You must of had some bad shrooms.I have never tried it.But i know a lot of people who have and i know a little about shrooms. take a B12 supplement and exercise, get the excess out of your fat pockets.And youll be feeling better soon.

        Tahlia wrote on April 16th, 2013
  15. Psilocibyn Mushrooms? What does it contains that makes you feel good?

    ManieE wrote on July 6th, 2009
    • psilocin which mimics the effects of serotonin in the brain

      “Weed” has always been far less moody than booze. It wasn’t Beer or Martinis that fueled the Peace movement of the 60′s.

      pjnoir wrote on July 6th, 2009
      • no, and it wasn’t weed either. it was LSD

        john wrote on May 30th, 2011
        • “It wasn’t Beer or Martinis that fueled the Peace movement of the 60′s.” and it wasn’t “LSD” Firstly it was the draft that sent so many idealistic well-educated teenagers to an immoral war where the public was lied to, but luckily there was an independent free press that kept factual information coming to those who had ears to hear. Secondly, the Vietnamese and the Chinese knew to get the Americans doing Hashish and Heroin, and make them apathetic. How did they know? That’s how the British weakened China, and created a demand for opium in exchange for tea. Starting in the early 1700, and by 1858, the British were bringing 70,000 chests of opium per year into China. It’s estimated that 90% of Chinese adults in coastal regions were opium addicts by the mid 1830s. The Chinese keep trying to outlaw opium, but the British would fight wars over it. There must be something to Karma, now our people are a bunch of oblivious addicts, and the Chinese own our children’s futures. Marijuana’s THC imitates estrogen, and has turned our men into a bunch of psuedo-women. Tryptophan doesn’t turn into serotonin in the presence of high protein such as animal products. It’s just a sedative, with a mild hypnotic effect. Eat a turkey – be a turkey.

          Friend of Critters wrote on July 18th, 2011
        • Friend of critters, are you fucking kidding me? You’re comparing opium to weed first of all. Second of all you’re trying to say that men in America are feminized by marijuana. What you are too ignorant to figure out is that American men on average are among the biggest in size in the world, height and weight. They are also on average big boned. So to say that our men are turning into women and attributing that to weed is assinine. See people reading this, this commenter, Friend of Critters, does a good job in representing all of the misled, misinformed, mindless brainwashed media fed morons that are screwing over America. They think they know all is right, and they make up “facts” on the spot such as, “Marijuana’s THC imitates estrogen”. Someone has been watching too much Bill O’Reilly. Eat a dick, be a dick. Dick.

          bob wrote on September 7th, 2011
  16. Thanks, that’s a new one for me! Any other foods that contains psilocin?

    ManieE wrote on July 18th, 2009
    • haha you mean psilocybin and its totally illegal. It’s what makes magic mushrooms magic. and magic they are….

      sean wrote on July 24th, 2009
  17. Gee, why does the good stuff always get banned…?

    ManieE wrote on July 24th, 2009
    • you can easily order grow kits and spores as far as I know and grow them yourself^^

      Al Bern wrote on May 1st, 2011
    • are you high right now? Maybe you do need alittle toke now and than will calm that fast thinkin brain of yours. I have a fast thinking brain myself it’s hard for most people to keep up with us. Find a job you can use that skill why waste it keeping it suppressed with any ole thing.. right a book!

      valerie wrote on May 15th, 2011
      • Maybe you should use that fast thinking brain of yours to learn basic English grammar and spelling. How do you “right a book?”

        Are you aware of what Cannabis even looks like?

        SmokeyMoses wrote on October 18th, 2011
      • I think you should use that ‘fast thinkin brain’ to learn how to write proper sentences and spell correctly. It’s ‘write’ a book, not ‘right’…

        Keep trying…

        Eric wrote on July 8th, 2013
  18. Weed is not physically addictive that is a fact! It may be mentally addictive to some people but its all in their minds.

    michelle wykel wrote on July 29th, 2009
    • I struggle to sleep so looooong ago someone told me i should try smoking weed at night.. It worked for a while then i started waking up still tired and feeling even worst.. now i only smoke 3 or 4 times a month but still struggling to sleep.. sleeping pills i don’t do and hot milk is a waste of time.. any ideas on falling asleep and staying asleep for the whole nite.. been like this since i can remember.. just getting sick of it now!

      Cherrybomb wrote on March 7th, 2012
      • can’t sleep? hold your thumbs…
        (ref.. jin shin jyutsu – book ‘touch of healing’ mary burmeister) – holding fingers clears all your body’s energy flows/meridians/energyfield…

        helen alksnys wrote on July 1st, 2012
  19. Great article. It puts a lot of information in perspective. I have been working on getting my metabolism revved up, so much so that I have started a blog on the topic. http://getmetabolismsecrets.com

    Joe wrote on August 16th, 2009
  20. thank you for your article it gives me a lot of information,

    mekhail wrote on September 17th, 2009
  21. weed can be cool and i dont think it is physicaly addictive , but best only to smoke when in the right frame of mind. Smoking when depressed or anxious can sometimes lead to deep thought and depression. As with all drugs for best results start with a posative frame of mind!!!!.

    dan wrote on November 27th, 2009
  22. take some ecstacy, it makes your serotonin go crazy. An hour after you have that and some OJ and a cig you’ll be the happiest person alive. THIZZ OR DIE u beezy

    condon wrote on January 4th, 2010
    • condon…”THIZZ OF DIE u beezy”..

      Yeah?…You must be a real thug coming from the summit. Seriously?

      C wrote on June 26th, 2010
  23. I don’t get it – this article advocates some grains, legumes and beans. I thought Mark was totally against these things, as they go against primal nutrition?

    Jay wrote on January 17th, 2010
    • You know, Mark evolved too. At first he was eating some bread (little, but always…), now he doesn’t

      C2H5OH wrote on January 17th, 2010
    • He might have included them for the sake of completeness…

      Joseph wrote on August 3rd, 2010
  24. nice article about protein…very informative thx

    holy wrote on January 18th, 2010
  25. Good tips for improving mood; however, serotonin does not improve mood any more than cholesterol causes heart disease.

    This is another case of mistaking a symptom for a cause. Any psychiatrist will tell you that there is no real understanding of the mechanism of how antidepressants work. Sure, when serotonin increase, mood improves, but there’s no proof whatsoever that the relationship is causal.

    Similarly, more cholesterol is associated with heart disease, but there’s no evidence that I’m aware of that supports the idea that cholesterol causes heart disease…

    kalea wrote on April 23rd, 2010
    • So there’s a 50 50 chance that serotonin actually does improve mood. Therefore you shouldn’t say it doesn’t FOR SURE.

      tonyastro wrote on May 27th, 2011
  26. Love this post. I’ve been doing research on tryptophan and its affects on serotonin and sleep.

    EarthBeauty wrote on May 21st, 2010
  27. Thanks for an excellent article. I’m recovering from fibromyalgia (which apparently affects your serotonin levels) and I’ve been looking for natural ways to increase my serotonin levels after I’ve been taking Zoloft without feeling any better.

    Eva wrote on June 25th, 2010
  28. Does beef not raise serotonin? I like it for the iron – I always feel better when eating a good steak! However, I also eat a lot of those other things, plus exercise, yet sleep horribly, wake up feeling exhausted, and feel depressed (not able to enjoy the good things in my life). Thoughts?

    Nancy Mooney wrote on July 30th, 2010
    • Get tested for sleep apnea. I have the same thing (waking up feeling like you want to die and hating everyone and everything around you for the next few hours)
      It turns out I completely stop breathing many times through the night and wake up choking (without having mentally woken up). This leads to disturbed sleep which leads to all the things you mentioned. Hope that helps.

      some dude wrote on January 5th, 2011
      • It does sound like Nancy has sleep apnea. It can cause any number of things including heart trouble and stroke. You don’t have to use a CPAP only. You can choose a dental device and get a great night’s sleep. I don’t sell them or own this website but here is some information on them: http://dentalinnovationsva.com

        webgal wrote on February 22nd, 2011
  29. I agree with you about fat–we have to have some in our diets to be happy.

    Thanks for a great and informative article.

    Carolyn Jolly wrote on August 4th, 2010
  30. Excellent article ! My parents are dead, I have almost no family, no family where I live in LA and am single..So I am sure this lack of deeper human connection and the ripping away of those that matter most to me (my parents and to a lesser degree the cats I grew up with) has drastically affected my moods, seratonin, oxycontin and other feel good chemicals..I need to either create more loving connections from non family or move somewhere like Thailand where I won’t feel so lonely and disconnected…

    David Pearl wrote on August 9th, 2010
    • Hi!

      I can be your Friend :)

      MrBluePower wrote on June 20th, 2012
  31. send more info on boosting serotonin and dopamine levels

    buddizo wrote on August 17th, 2010
  32. Cholesterol leads to heart disease by attaching to the walls of our arteries. plaques forms along those parts making our vessels less elastic (less able to adapt to blood pressure changes). These plaques can form thrombi which can break off and lodge in a coronary artery causing a heart attack. Also hardened, inelastic arteries increase blood pressure.

    Tracy wrote on August 19th, 2010
  33. As far as serotonin goes, I have read many times that Aspartame competes with serotonin (and/or the precursors)for passage over the blood brain barrier. Avoid Aspartame if you want to keep your serotonin levels balanced. Remember aspartame is in almost all sugar-free, low calorie drinks and foods. Avoid it at all costs.

    Tracy wrote on August 19th, 2010
  34. Marijauna has never harmed anyone in this world. Its easy to hate it when your jelous of the happiness it brings people. Especially if your not happy with yourselves.

    Scott wrote on September 6th, 2010
    • That’s a big statement considering that you don’t know everyone in this world who uses marijuana. My 16yo nephew threw himself off the cliff of our local quarry before Christmas as he’d been struggling with the addiction and really bad paranoia that developed a few months into his heavy use off the drug. He tried a number of times to get off it, yet was unsuccessful. While I was trying to help him, I met many others who also struggled with its addictive qualities. Yes for many users they don’t have a problem. Others develop problems later, and discontinue its use without withdrawal problems. Others like my nephew have real addiction problems. It’s very sad that so many people see it as a harmless wonderful drug which is safe for everyone. It clearly isn’t. For those though, that can use it Therapeutically to limit the problems of MS and other diseases without bad side effects, they are fortunate.

      Bob wrote on February 1st, 2011
      • I’m very sorry to hear about your Nephew. I do think they are looking at the wrong side of statistics in general when it comes to weed though. I dont think people who use weed during puberty are more likely to develop mental problems….I think people who are developing mental problems during puberty are more likely to use weed to mask this.

        Weed is only addictive in the way that food is addictive. The people that develop dependencies are predisposed to this. I know plenty of people attending uni, getting great grades, living great lives, and smoking weed.

        I smoke once 3/4 nights a week before bed because I have suffered from terrible insomnia since childhood. It allows me to control my sleep patterns and regulate my routine. I’ve been doing this for 3 years without increase and I stop for 2 weeks every 3 months.

        A while before this I’d used it daily for 7 months after a breakdown and went from not leaving my room for 2 weeks to slowly regaining my ability to leave the house, be in the company of my friends and be able to smile and feel something good.

        I developed mental problems 7 years before ever using weed. These went unrecognised for 2.

        While I don’t doubt your beleifs on your Nephews situiaton, I dont think this counts for everyone else.

        Thank you, and sorry again x

        sour_apple wrote on April 13th, 2011
      • Your nephew had other issues behind pot,sorry iv’e done alot of drugs in my life came down to alcohol. he had to have been mighty high to jump.. and if he was that high he would have been at the refrig. or asleep He must have had something laced or a mental disorder because with pot you either like it or you don’t,it is not addictive! How many times a day,week, month, year at all you hear the news report another killing from man high on marijuana. They may have had pot in their system but can almost100% tell you there would be alcohol or some other drug in their system that was the predominate factor.

        valerie wrote on May 15th, 2011
  35. so much hate revolving around earths greatest gift. God’s medicine, not man’s medicine. I’ll take ?….

    Scott wrote on September 6th, 2010
  36. quote:”take some ecstacy, it makes your serotonin go crazy. An hour after you have that and some OJ and a cig you’ll be the happiest person alive. THIZZ OR DIE u beezy”

    Ecstacy causes your serotonin to FLOOD your system thereby DEPLETING the stores much like pulling the plug in a tub. People typically crash a few days later.

    I tried ecstasy recently out of curiosity and unfortunately for ME I’m apparently so low on serotonin I didn’t even get high.

    So now I realize there’s definitely an imbalance happening that I need to address.

    Dee wrote on October 29th, 2010
    • Unfortunately, a certain level of common sense is required before seeking drug induced states or even understand the info you posted. A level missing from bonehead types like thizz or die.

      Thanks for the info.

      Ez wrote on September 9th, 2012
      • Hopefully, you’ll find a healthy path to correct your sero issue.

        Ez wrote on September 9th, 2012
  37. I’m trying 5 HTP to boost my levels. I just started today so we’ll have to see.

    Lucy wrote on October 29th, 2010
  38. What I would like to know on the whole marijuana issue is how does it affect the weight loss/body composition process?? or does it at all?? Like aside from the “munchies” if that was controlled under the influence how else would it affect the body from loosing weight and body composition change and in relation to oxygen input and output during exercise how does this hinder (or not hinder) the results from for example the classic Crossfit exercise regime?

    megan wrote on November 9th, 2010
    • smoking marijuana slows blood flow, making the rest of the body work harder to stay alive, therefore metabolism is increased. Your body uses all the energy and protein in the food you have consumed faster so when it realises there isn’t anymore energy to gain from what’s left, your brain tells you ‘FEED ME SO YOU STAY ALIVE’. So while you eat more, the body works the excess sugar and fat into energy, so it doesn’t stay as fattening weight gaining left overs.

      chloe wrote on March 7th, 2011
  39. how about some mdma?

    MD wrote on November 17th, 2010
  40. MDMA for a rush of seratonin, also gets to work on that tasty oxytocin, for some good lovey cuddling. = ] just don’t do it more than once a month or so, to feel full effects and to stay healthy too!

    PJNK wrote on December 21st, 2010

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