12 Ways to Boost Your Serotonin

how to boost your serotoninSerotonin is a funny one.

Although the prevailing sentiment is that we want to “increase serotonin,” it’s not that simple. There’s no indication that more serotonin is necessarily better in every situation, or even generally. The link between serotonin and “happiness” or “mood” isn’t so clear-cut as the experts would have you believe, either. So while I am going to tell you how to “boost” serotonin levels because serotonin is a vital neurotransmitter, I plan on sticking to foods, supplements, and behaviors that promote physiological levels of serotonin. Boosting serotonin beyond what the body is designed for may not help you, and it may have unpleasant and unwanted effects.

Is Serotonin a Mood Booster?

Yes and no. For evidence, I submit two items. The first is clinical research and the second is pure anecdote, albeit personal anecdote.

Everyone has heard of SSRIs, or selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors. The most common form of antidepressants, their purported mode of action is to reduce the re-absorption of serotonin by neurons which increases the circulating concentration of serotonin in the brain. They increase brain levels of serotonin so it’s able to act longer. The evidence in favor of SSRIs in treating depression is mixed. Not everyone benefits, and it often takes several months to take effect. But they do help some people.

In recent years, depression studies have pitted SSRIs against another drug—tianeptine—that does the opposite: increases the absorption of serotonin by neurons and decreases the concentration of serotonin the brain. If the “serotonin=happy” hypothesis is correct, tianeptine shouldn’t improve depression. It should worsen it. But that’s not what happens. Both tianeptine, which lowers brain serotonin, and SSRIs, which increase it, have been shown to improve depression symptoms in patients with clinical depression. If anything, tianeptine might even be more effective.1

This doesn’t mean that serotonin has nothing to do with depression, or that it’s bad for depression. It just means that the story is a little more complicated than we thought.

Now the anecdote. Back when I was doing some research for a new probiotic supplement, I tried one that had been shown to increase serotonin levels: B. infantis. This is how I do things usually. Most all my products are created to solve a problem in my own life. I figure that if something appeals to me or fixes an issue affecting me, it will help others too. So this time, I added the powder to a smoothie and down the hatch it went. About half an hour later, I got the distinct sense of what I can only describe as emotional numbness. There was just this big blank emptiness in my heart and mind. I felt robotic, except I was a robot who had memories of what it was like to feel. It was a very uncanny, unnerving feeling that I don’t ever want to feel again.

Maybe the dosage was too high. Maybe I shouldn’t have been taking a probiotic strain meant for human infants (B. infantis is present in infant guts and breast milk). Maybe if my baseline levels of serotonin were lower, the probiotic would have helped. But that’s not the point of all this—it’s that boosting serotonin isn’t necessarily good for mood and happiness.

Melt away stress with Adaptogenic Calm

What Does Serotonin Do?

Serotonin facilitates communication between neurons, making it a major regulator of mood, learning, memory, and sexual desire. 2 Adequate levels of serotonin help us deal with stress, while chronic stress can deplete serotonin. As the precursor to melatonin, serotonin also has a powerful effect on sleep and circadian rhythm.

The underrecognized effect of serotonin on the brain’s ability to learn may explain why increasing serotonin levels through SSRIs can help depression patients.3 We usually think of learning in the context of knowledge or skill acquisition—learning a language, learning calculus, memorizing state capitals—but it also applies to mood acquisition. We aren’t happy just because. We are happy because we experience positive stimuli and the resultant good mood is reinforcing our continued pursuit of said positive stimuli. The good mood is how we learn, and we learn with the help of serotonin. And because we’ve learned to associate good moods with positive stimuli, the effect sustains itself. Depression alleviated. Meanwhile, in a low-serotonin state, a patient can experience positive stimuli without learning that it’s actually positive. They never make the connection. Or, rather, they never feel the connection.

Low brain serotonin is also linked to increased rumination—getting stuck on the same thoughts or thought patterns—another manifestation of decreased connectivity between neurons in the brain. Thoughts don’t “flow”; they get stuck.

Although we mainly think of serotonin as a neurotransmitter acting on the brain, our guts are the biggest producers of serotonin. About 90% of the serotonin in our bodies is produced in the gut, where it helps trigger the contractions that push food through the GI tract and initiates nausea and vomiting (when necessary).4 Gut serotonin may also travel to the brain via the vagus nerve, the “highway” that allows our gut to interface with our brain.

Serotonin also has other peripheral effects. For instance, it plays a role in bone formation and maintenance, with brain serotonin maintaining bone formation and gut serotonin inhibiting it.

How to Increase Serotonin

While you don’t necessarily want to boost serotonin to supernatural levels, it’s quite clear that low brain serotonin can have some unwanted effects. How do you make sure you’re making enough serotonin in your brain to enable optimal neuronal communication and melatonin synthesis, minimize rumination, and improve mood?

  • Eat tryptophan foods
  • Get plenty of natural light
  • Get sun or take vitamin D
  • Eat seafood or take omega-3s
  • Spend time in nature
  • Eat some carbs
  • Take curcumin
  • Move
  • Drink coffee
  • Get a massage
  • Get your micronutrients
  • Take tryptophan on an empty stomach

Eat Tryptophan Foods

We often forget that “thoughts” and “feelings” aren’t just ephemera floating around inside our heads without a material representative. Every thought, feeling, emotion, or mood we experience is a physical thing made of matter. We don’t just “feel better.” To feel better, we manufacture serotonin using an amino acid called tryptophan as the precursor.

Whether it’s turkey, eggs, dairy, beef, lamb, chicken, or fish, animal protein is a reliable source of tryptophan. Studies show that whey protein and egg protein both acutely increase tryptophan availability in the brain.56

Get Plenty of Natural Light

Sunlight is a direct trigger of serotonin synthesis. The brighter the sunlight, the higher the serotonin production.7 This may explain seasonal affective disorder, where depression spikes during colder, darker months. It may also explain why sun exposure increases cognitive function in both depressed and healthy subjects, or why bright light exposure prevents bad moods after tryptophan depletion.89

Without light, you can’t convert tryptophan into serotonin.

Bright light doesn’t imply full blaring sunlight. Going outside on a cloudy, late autumn day will expose you to far more bright, natural light than you’ll experience sitting inside with the lights on. I’d guess the main reason winter is worse for serotonin is that people are less likely to go outside and brave the bad weather.

Get your light as early as possible. A 10-15 minute walk just after sunrise (no sunglasses; bathe in the light) sets the tone for the day.

Get Sun or Take Vitamin D

Vitamin D—which we synthesize from UVB exposure—allows the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin.10

I recommend getting most of your vitamin D from the sun. It’s better regulated that way, and you get the added benefit of lots of natural light. If you need or want to supplement (probably a good idea for most people during the colder seasons when sun exposure is low), look for a high potency formula. Here’s what I take.

Eat Seafood or Take Omega-3s

Not only does seafood provide ample amounts of the amino acid tryptophan, the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids found in marine fat increase serotonin production in the brain and improve serotonin transport across neurons.11

You might take cod liver oil or eat the actual livers, as that provides both vitamin D (for increased tryptophan conversion) and long-chain omega-3s. However, a good daily dose of omega-3 supplementation through high potency, pharmaceutical-grade fish oil works fine, too, for those who get ample vitamin D otherwise.

Spend Time in Nature

I’ve written about forest bathing in the past for its ability to lower stress hormones, improve mood, reduce blood sugar levels, and even increase natural killer cell activity, a marker of anti-cancer ability.

Don’t Avoid Carbs Entirely

Carbs spike insulin, which shuttles amino acids out of the blood and into cells. This leaves tryptophan as the dominant amino acid in the bloodstream, because it’s bound to albumin and inaccessible to insulin. When amino acids compete for conversion into neurotransmitters, tryptophan wins, and serotonin rises, because no one else shows up.

Many readers of this blog prefer lower-carb diets. I’m the same. If you feel like your serotonin levels need a boost, consider increasing carb intake a little. Just one meal containing carbohydrates should get enough tryptophan into your brain for conversion into serotonin.

Take Curcumin

Turmeric has emerged in recent years as a powerful antidepressant, in many cases equalling or even surpassing the effects of prescription antidepressants.12 Turns out that turmeric (or curcumin, rather) increases brain serotonin levels in a dose-dependent matter.13

So maybe you need curcumin, the isolated polyphenol found in turmeric, to really affect depression. Maybe your chicken tikka masala isn’t replacing your SSRI. But absent outright depression or serotonin-based mood disorders, cooking with turmeric should help regulate normal serotonin levels.


Exercise increases serotonin via two pathways. First, the activation of motor neurons increases the firing rate of serotonin neurons, thus boosting the synthesis and release of serotonin. Second, exercise consistently elevates tryptophan levels in the brain, even for hours after the session.14 This is probably why going for a walk or grabbing a quick workout is a surefire way to beat ruminating thoughts.

Drink Coffee

Generic alternative health gurus will tell you caffeine depletes serotonin. It sounds right, doesn’t it? What they won’t say is that caffeine has actually been shown to increase brain serotonin, at least in rats.15  It also makes the brain more sensitive to the effects of serotonin. Personally, I’m drinking my coffee.

Get a Massage

Conventional experts will say “massage just feels good.” Well, yeah. That’s the point. Getting a massage boosts serotonin by 28%.16

Get Your Micronutrients

This should really be standard advice for any health issue. Many problems go away when we eat more micronutrients—vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients—because micronutrients are essential to fundamental physiological processes and pathways. It’s a safe bet that all of us are at least mildly deficient in a handful of important nutrients—like B6, which regulates serotonin synthesis.17

One study found that a food-based multivitamin/multimineral supplement drink called Lavita increased tryptophan and serotonin levels in healthy subjects. While that product does purport to offer a boost in many micronutrients, a solid Primal diet with quality meats and good, varied vegetable intake should provide the same nutrient base. Of course, many of us choose a comprehensive multivitamin/multimineral supplement as well.

Take Tryptophan on an Empty Stomach

Taking tryptophan on an empty stomach eliminates the competition for brain uptake with other amino acids you’d encounter when eating tryptophan-rich foods, allowing tryptophan to flood the brain and trigger serotonin synthesis.

That’s what I have for today, folks. Thanks for stopping by. Share your thoughts and questions on the comment board, and have a good week.

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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242 thoughts on “12 Ways to Boost Your Serotonin”

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  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!!!

    1. Have one child and five stepchildren..craving walnuts…I guess my body knows best!

    2. 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.

      1. A handful in oatmeal every morning with cinnamon after heavy weightlifting too.

    3. 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

      1. You’re absolutely wrong. Nicotine has many beneficial effects, including some therapeutic

        1. You are right and wrong. Nicotine does have SOME beneficial effects. However they are easily out weighed with the damage that is inflicted with prolonged nicotine use.
          The benefits don’t out weigh the negatives when it comes to nicotine.

          1. Actually, nicotine itself is fairly benign. Cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, and chewing tobacco have a bunch of other chemicals in them that are really bad for you, but nicotine itself is not the problem. Nicotine does raise the heart rate slightly, is addicting, and some researchers think that in young people, it might, possibly open them to trying harder drugs, but that’s about it. I think that with young people smoking and dipping, it’s more a symptom of the problem than the problem itself. They’re using tobacco products as a stepping stone.

          2. Nicotine is a plant alkaloid and therefore poisonous in larger (but not really big) doses. It’s in the nightshade family. It used to be used as a pesticide.

    4. Good to know! I have walnuts in my breakfast smoothie every morning.

    5. That is OK advice, if Serotonin is only slight low with mild dysphoria. If you have been prescribed an SSRI do NOT stop your meds and eat walnuts until you discuss it with your physician. Major Depressive Disorder is NOT something to screw around with.

  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
    [email protected]

  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.

    1. 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

      1. 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!

      2. This just sounds like your opinion. Research shows that 5-htp crosses the bbb quite well

    2. I tried 5-HTP it realy helps in begining (first 3 days) but then i got contraindications and they were very bad. Caution people!

      1. 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. 🙂

    3. 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.

    4. Until a month or so ago, I took 5HTP for years, daily. I even noticed that when I didn’t take it, it was difficult to sleep and I felt more anxious. Recently I read that it can cause difficulties with the heart–something about making the muscle more thick or stiff– enough to scare me. I stopped taking it. I was quite relieved that I suffered no ill effects,, and do fine without it. I think that is because my diet has improved since eating more Primal aligned (though not “perfectly” by any means). I would only use 5HTP for very short periods of time, maybe up to three days, during a crisis, but not as a routine supplement. Eat a primal aligned diet, get sleep, etc.

  4. 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.”

      1. 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.

        1. 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!

        2. 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.

          1. Biblical times are by definition not prehistoric times, Linda, prehistoric would be the stone age and before

        3. Really? Do you mean neanderthals or our ancestors? (they aren’t the same thing)

        4. 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.

        5. 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:)

          1. Actually humans pretty much always had the ‘means’ to kill large game animals, google ‘smashed in head buffalo jump’ people in other countries did the same, just ran animals off cliffs in ‘stampede’ mode
            Doesn’t mean anyone HAS to eat meat / dairy thigh, just have to know how to get all 8 amminos through other sources

        6. 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.

          1. Meat and wine provided by a pagan king would certainly not be kosher, so Daniel and other observant Jews would be duty-bound to refuse it. Refusing royal delicacies would be a severe social offense as well as a dietary hardship. The fact that they thrived *in spite of* their vegetarian diet, is sort of a miracle. In no way does that passage endorse vegetarianism. Neither does this:

            “…thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the Lord thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household…”

            Deuteronomy 14:26

        7. Just carious how do you know that. Did you have a bone scan?

      2. thanks so much for sharing this article, it is excellent and has sound info!

    1. 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.

      1. its why i wake up 3 hours after i booze up and wonder why im up so early.

      2. Yes ,thats true , I wake up always super early if I drink even 2-3 drinks at nite and feel very restless .

      3. 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.

      4. 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!

        1. Alcohol was shown to increase brain serotonin levels so in that regard it is acting as a stimulant

    2. K so I stick with all these comments and get to yours and I snort laughed good stuff man! Hi lol

      1. Are you high or something.Your whole paragraph was out of order completely.IT made no sense at all.

    3. 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!!!

      1. 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.

    4. Actualy liquor is a stimulant, however you may be talking about wine or beer…

      1. Alcohol (yes that means all forms) is a central nervous system depressant.

  5. 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.

    1. 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).

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

  6. 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.

    1. 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?

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

          1. I think with Monsters and Mt Dew the problem is not caffeine. Certainly Mt. Dew has enough sugar to be a big problem.

      2. 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.

    2. 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!!!

  7. marijuana is addictive! i know many people who go nuts if they cant get their regular dose!

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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!

        2. 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.

      2. 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

        1. 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.

        2. 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.

    2. 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?”

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

        2. 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.

      2. 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”.

        1. 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.

  8. 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 🙂

  9. 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.

    1. 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?

      1. 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 🙂

      2. 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.

      3. 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.

    1. 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.

        1. “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.

    1. haha you mean psilocybin and its totally illegal. It’s what makes magic mushrooms magic. and magic they are….

    1. 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!

      1. 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?

  10. Weed is not physically addictive that is a fact! It may be mentally addictive to some people but its all in their minds.

    1. 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!

      1. 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…

  11. 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!!!!.

  12. 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

  13. You know, Mark evolved too. At first he was eating some bread (little, but always…), now he doesn’t

  14. 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…

    1. So there’s a 50 50 chance that serotonin actually does improve mood. Therefore you shouldn’t say it doesn’t FOR SURE.

    2. I was just going to say something along these lines. Hasn`t the whole serotonin theory of depression been cast aside? I thought depression was more about inflammation.

  15. 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.

  16. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. 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: https://dentalinnovationsva.com

  17. 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…

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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

      2. 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.

  21. so much hate revolving around earths greatest gift. God’s medicine, not man’s medicine. I’ll take ?….

  22. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. Hopefully, you’ll find a healthy path to correct your sero issue.

  23. I’m trying 5 HTP to boost my levels. I just started today so we’ll have to see.

  24. 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?

    1. 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.

  25. 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!

  26. In regards to the weed question. Its not physically addictive. Some just like to have something to hang on to. Thats why people can become addicted to anything. Some things are character flaws not addiction.

  27. Try SAMe. I’ve struggled with low serotonin levels for years. I’ve tried 5htp, serzone, st john’s wart, saffron pills(same mechanism as prozac) and SAMe has worked the best with no negative side effects. Taking it before bed also cured my insomnia, which I had struggled with for years as well.

  28. After seeing all this drug talk, I think Mark should write a recipe for primal pot brownies!
    My take on this weed debate (and I should know what I’m talking about, since I’ve veritably been a stoner the last four years) is that it’s not physically addictive but for some people it can be extremely habit-forming and thus psychologically addictive, if you want to call it that. For much of the last four years I’ve smoked weed daily, sometimes multiple times in a day, and that is the conclusion I’ve come to. There have been times where I’ve run out of weed and felt like all good things have come to an end but this feeling only lasts until I find something to distract me or, if I’ve been keeping myself high constantly for a long time, wait a couple days to become reacquainted with my heavier-hearted sober mindset and the fact that all the things I think of and do and all the sensual stimuli my brain receives is not going to be as exciting and enjoyable as what I’ve gotten myself used to. Mild depression and irritability accompanied by the idea that everything is boring and nothing is enjoyable set in at first, then quickly disappear as I once again become accustomed to my default state of consciousness. Readjusting to sobriety after being stoned an excessive amount of time is similar to waking up from a pleasant dream and realizing that though you can still walk, you can’t fly. I’ve had strong urges (call them cravings if you wish) to get high again both shortly and long after stopping but they were purely mental in nature. I never got the shakes, cold sweats, or any other drug withdrawal symptoms from discontinuing smoking weed. When it’s unavailable I don’t despair over its abscence; I look forward to next time.

  29. Pot smokers…..Pls watch David Suzuki’s “The Downside to High”….it will give you an entirely new perspective. Those of you relying on old studies – i.e. studies that suggest Cannabis is not physically addictive – Pls understand much of the research was done with pot produces 20 to 30 years ago. I think we can all agree that Pot today is much different. Pls be critical of research findings, and do not use old data to support your current habit.

  30. Pot smokers…..Pls watch David Suzuki’s “The Downside to High”….it will give you an entirely new perspective. Those of you relying on old studies – i.e. studies that suggest Cannabis is not physically addictive – Pls understand much of the research was done with pot that was grown/produced 20 to 30 years ago (or even earlier!). I think we can all agree that Pot today is much different. Pls be critical of research findings, and do not use old data to support your current habit. Pls ask an old Hippie – they will tell you the same!

  31. I have electrohypersensitivity which means I am sensitive to most things electrical. The research so far is sparse mostly due to telecommunications corruption but I believe our Serotonin levels are too high.
    Can anyone suggest ways or foods which would help to bring this down instead of bringing it up?

  32. Weed’s not bad at all. People who have problems with it already had them before they started using weed and use weed as a scapegoat kind of like Hitler and the Jews. Catch my drift? The only thing weed will make you do is love everything in the world, appreciate everything a lot more, and of course eating a lot of food and sleeping. Weed makes life so much easier to live and people who try to argue against it and use fox news tactics of making shit up on the spot are just jealous of the content that people have when they are high. Weed has never killed a single person, the war on weed in America however has killed thousands. If it were legalized usage would drop. This has been the case in many other countries so we have seen that legalizing it wouldn’t damaging. It would in fact generate billions of dollars in revenue for the gov’t. Anyways I’m done rambling on about this topic, and if you don’t agree with me, your opinion is fucking wrong. Good day

  33. 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.

  34. Any updates or thoughts about effects of ingesting foods containing serotonin on osteoporosis? If I understoon it correctly, a scientific study reported in a 2008 NYTimes article attributed the relationship of “gut” serotonin in the diet to being a negative on bone health. (link to review the article: nytimes.com/2008/11/27/health/research/27bone.html )

  35. “When you look at our history as a species, the knowledge that some seeds and nuts may enhance brainpower and moods makes perfect sense. As “Origin Diet” author Elizabeth Somer writes, seeds and nuts were an essential part of our ancestors’ diets: “Up to 65 percent of our original diets were fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and other plants. Our ancient ancestors ate pounds of produce every day. The other 35 percent came from wild game, low in saturated fats and rich in polyunsaturated fats called the omega-3 fatty acids.”

    Just wanted to add that to the disussion. Thanks for the article!

  36. Good article.

    Here’s some news too:- currently on the UK Ch4 catch up there’s a programme called ‘The Food Hospital’. The last series concentrated on Detox diets (fads) and Depression. A women who suffered from Depression for almost 7 hours or
    more was taking anti-depressants and making no difference to her moods. She was suffering from mood swings, insomnia, anxiety and much more.
    In this programme, several doctors gave her the lowdown how seratonin works in the brain. Then she was given a list of foods to eat that boost seratonin levels to the brain. She went away but 10 weeks later returned back to give her verdict.
    She said her clinically diagnosed depression had. 360 degree turn. In fact, she was transformed.
    Now OK, she could have been eating foods that were unhealthy in the first place, but this advice
    Is something that everyone should know. Camp schools etc have changed kitchen dinners to healthier options. They found an improvement in concentration and moods in there kids.

    The woman who went to the food hospital was eating well for a week. She had completed a questionnaire before she began the food change, marking up to 14 points. The result of the questionnaire considered her to have a clinical depression. She was asked to complete the form again 10 weeks after her new food seratonin plan.
    She got 1 mark dropping from 13 points to 1 point!

    I fell ill I had 6 weeks of virus and medical complications. The virus gave me insomnia, anxiety. Panic attacks, stomach and chest infection. You name it I had it. I thought I was a goner.

    Excersise is difficult when you feel fear, hopeless, and suicidal. But – you have to cling on to anything you can, if you can’t think think straight, then don’t think at all/ but if your physical self a change, they ultimately try syncing. Accept it don’t hate yourself for it. Its still a little battle for me

    But, I take vit b, c, d, e and eat all the foods mentioned. Keeping faith too plays a huge part.
    It does help.

  37. Currently on a course to be a personal trainer and your web page was recommended! Great recommendation and I now have you on my favourite reads, thanks. The word of the Grok will be passed on.

  38. 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!

  39. Eating a healthy diet and exercise has helped me a lot. I’ve been on and off meds like efexxor, pristiq and cleexa for years and finally found that diet and exersice could be almost as helpful at least for me.

    I also take B vitimins and St Johns Wart along with eating foods like Kerfir that really help with anxiety.


    & XANAX.

  41. Good tips. I don’t necessarily agree with carbs being a quick fix (what about fruits?) but I agree with the rest of the tips. Exercise is my number one serotonin booster.

  42. Great article but you missed something in your fifth point, Exercise to feel good. The “feel good” effect is actually caused by the endocannabinoid system. It was assumed for many years that it was endorphins but research how now shown that to be a wrong.

  43. Well the article made me want to just give up on a natural way. Looks like heavy meds for me

  44. I worked with a woman she was vegan and her boyfriend was vegeterian. They were always sick. Always going to the doctor. I remember one time she told me that “she can’t even be in the same room with someone who has a cold, she will catch it” and she said.

  45. thanx for sharing helpful information.
    I wish u have high serotonin all the time with such natural lifestyle 🙂

  46. The problem with this post is that it doesn’t mention that meat is high in arachidonic acid, which contributes to the synthesis of proinflammatory compounds in the body that adversely affect mood and mental health.

    There are several studies which show that meat is not a mood booster. A vegetarian or vegan diet is far better in elevating mood.

  47. Weed is like everything else – pros and cons. Also, like with any other thing, weed can be one’s greatest gift and other’s demise, depending on each person. Yin Yang…

  48. Cannabis has been helping humanity THOUSANDS OF YEARS longer than most of the so-called “drugs” it so frequently gets lumped together with. We’ve lived in harmony with hemp for a millennium.

    Let’s cut straight to smoking. If you strap a gas mask to a monkey and pump 65 columbian joints worth of smoke into his lungs over 5 minutes (with no oxygen) he’ll get lung and brain damage. That’s the study most people are inadvertently citing when they make so many erroneous claims against cannabis.

    The plant was made illegal because it hindered DuPont’s ability to profit from environmentally unsustainable processing of paper and oil based products.

    It is illegal, demonized and criminalized because it jeopardizes the cancer industry. treatments are scarce, expensive and profitable. cures grow in the dirt.

    Anything can be addicting. Addictive behavior is poisonous and breeds itself. Marijuana is not immune to being used additively. Nothing is really -especially a plant as DOPE AS CANNABIS! 😀

    But really… there’s a LARGE preponderance of evidence to suppose it may cure any number of diseases and a very scarce (and questionable) preponderance of evidence to show it progresses toward emphysema and lung cancer.

    Your average tobacco cigarette is radiated and weighs a gram. Your average bong-load is a quarter the size and you may even cough up some debris. The cigarette likes to keep the debris in the lungs… where it eventually accumulates and kills you… because its radioactive.

    Still think tobacco and MJ are equal? Try eating a cigarette. see how you feel. If you’re not permanently damaged by that point you may even enjoy or benefit from eating the gram of MJ.

    I could go on and on but I’m biased and well researched.

  49. Other good serotonin boosters are:
    – massage therapy
    – trying to think happy thoughts
    – exposure to sunlinght (at certain hours)

    Regarding to the carbs, most of the serotonin made by the ingestion of carbs will only influence the levels of serotonin in the GUT, but not in the brain. So all of you that are reading keep that in mind!


    1. There is nothing specific to BPD but there are some that may help the symptoms. But I would suggest telling a close family member or friend about your situation. Someone you really trust. Keep in constant dialogue.If they really care they will understand and listen patiently without judging. Though you may have done that already. I know living with mental health problems is horrible because no one seems to understand. I had problems with GAD a few years ago. But I found the best thing was to talk about it openly. We talk about cancer and heart disease and I think mental health is the same. There should be no stigma attached. You can even keep replying to these posts if you like.

      Also seeing a psychologist first. Because they are incredibly addictive, and because they usually come with a considerable amount of adverse side affects, your GP will not subscribe mood medications unless they feel you really need it. I know the thought of a psychologist is scary but I went to one a couple of years ago and it was really easy. No one even knew apart from my GP and the people that I wanted to tell. I am perfectly normal to need to go and no one knew I had a mental health problem until I told them. About 1 in 2 adults will have a mental health problem in their lifetime in the US so you are not alone. It took about 12 sessions I before was considered on track but after a few I started feeling better. The thing I learnt the most were coping skills for when I feel anxious or down or agitated. So now I know I can deal with the challenges of life. Just do the exercises you are given. You may not even need the meds then. I didn’t. And I’d rather not take them. I would also recommend regular exercise, socialising and volunteer work.

      I’m not sure what the procedure is where you live but to see a psychologist you would probably have to go through your GP and get a referral. A good GP should give you several options because it is really important that you feel comfortable with your mental health professional. That you can tell them anything. A good GP should also not tell your family and friends that you are seeking mental health services unless they feel you are at risk of harm. You may already be seeing someone. Then just be patient and it should improve. The relapse rates for BPD are low so once you get through this then you can give yourself a massive pat on the back and treat yourself you an awesome movie. Hang in there 🙂

      1. I think the best medicine I can point out to people these days is get off your pedastals and start re-communing with nature.

        It’s hilarious how humans try to be so smart yet I bet just about every other species out there probably veiws us as nothing but a bunch of jackasses……I think the so called superiority of humans is actually a slow decay that has been happening over hundreds or even thousands of years and much of what they do these is out of jealousy……the only reason nature has not stepped in yet is because if there is anything humans have shown to be superior at….it’s the art of FUBAR….so it’s only a matter of time before they suffer the dinosaur effect.

  51. Thanks for this advice. I have been diagnosed with severe depression and am taking 4x 37.5mg venlafaxine tablets a day. If I had miss one dose, the withdrawal symptoms are horrendous. I am trying to find a way of coming off them and use a natural way to boost my serotonin. Thanks. By the way, if anyone else gets offered Venlafaxine by your doctor to help depression, don’t take them. They’re effective but impossible to stop taking. Some people have committed suicide due to withdrawal symptoms.

  52. Hi Kris ,
    I had bipolar when young some things that helped me where.
    1 , knowing that things will get better
    2, piece of dark choc two three times a day.
    3 doing a sport you enjoy for me it was surfing.
    4 be active do some swim sprints or set small achievable goals so you get a sense of accomplishment .
    5 not eating crap was the major difference sugar etc .
    6 . Train look good feel good.
    7. Make a plan an aim toward it.Holiday goals etc.
    Also I had a major ganja alcohol habit which I ditched an changed my life for ever they are as bad as insulin spike the ups an downs made me worse read something inspirational before sleep an when you wake up chicken soup for the soul ,
    An don’t feed ya brain crap eg news news papers etc good luck an have fun .

  53. Is it safe to take St. John’s wart along with 5HTP? I am currently taking St. John’s wart, but was considering the 5HTP also.

  54. I’d like to point out that eating food, especially food we like (sweets, pizza, doesn’t matter) is giving dopamine a boost. Comparing to serotonin it’s short, but more intense joy. The same is caused by sex. Why? Every genus needs reproduction and food. Brain gives us dopamine boost (i.e. short happiness) when we eat or have sex – it’s a reward for doing it. Joy is the way of brain to show body to search for food or sex.

    Also dopamine boost is observed with exertion. It’s because mu receptors are triggered. It’s pain-killing as well. So again we have a reward+we don’t feel pain associated with exertion.

    Mr. Weil is right, but he’s talking about serotonin and you’ve said indirectly that it doesn’t affect mood. It does, in more visible way than serotonin. Article on MSN is 404, but “sugary treat” gives a hint it was about dopamine.

    The point is that sweets boost mood and articles aren’t excluding themselves, because it boost dopamine production, not serotonin. Main part of so-called “reward system” is dopamine, search for it for details.

  55. I agree with that choclate commit.. so if weed is addictive then soda, coffee, anything you get your body used to on the regular , your body will have some sort of change , people need to come out with some real facts these days and stop acting like they know ! COME OUT WITH THE FACTS, youl be more surprised then you think

  56. SUNSHINE is the most effective way to increase the serotonin level in our brain. So don’t always keep inside of our houses. Take regular sunbath at least two hours a day.

  57. I love these 10 tips! Just imagine what the effect would be if doctors prescribed this list first, before dishing out meds! Perhaps not such a quick fix, but habit-forming in the healthy way for superb long term results.

  58. If you want to do some research on THC, look up a man by the name of Rick Simpson. He has study THC for years. In his words for medical benefit “you ate it, not smoke it”

  59. Now I know why I feel like sh*t, had sugary granola for breakfast, tea for lunch, sweet coffee, pizza slice, cheesy french onion soup, and beer bread.

  60. I don’t eat pork or chicken, I eat beef once a month, and I eat seafood a couple of times a week.. The rest of my diet is vegetarian-based. I am very healthy; in fact, my doctor says that I am overweight. Don’t know who Gary associates with but I would not be classified as unhealthy. What is unhealthy is eating all of those poor animals who are fed toxic crap. You are what you eat, I guess….

  61. Wow. What a lot of crazy comments (I mean that in a good way). People do not go through physical withdrawal from THC. People can however become psychologically addicted. If weed is used for a long time consistently then your brain may not think that it needs to produce as many of those ‘feel good’ chemicals on its own and may have to relearn to do so without the weed. It’s medicinal and most medicinal compounds have some type of effect that the body would need to adapt to not having once it gets used to having it. This is why short term use in conjunction with therapy and healthy lifestyle is the best prognosis. This is true whether we’re talking about natural or prescribed meds.

  62. Exposure to sunlight or just bright light is also important as well as cognitive behavioral therapy. Being able to stop and change our thoughts has a notable effect on mood.

  63. Hi, Mark,

    I have been doing low carb for 4 months now, but since a little over a month after I started it, my sleep has been completely messed up. At some point during the 1st month I started to try 12/12 fasting and since then, no more regular night of sleep until 3 weeks ago, when I started on HTP and Melatonin. Before trying it, I tried Rhodiola for 2 months, with absolutely no improvement on my sleep. When I decided to try HTP and melatonin I was already desperate, cause it is no piece of cake. This week I decided to take only the HTP and there it was, insomnia again. I really tried every thing about changing routine, nothing except for the combination mentioned above seems to be working. Do you have any suggestions? I live in Brazil, where melatonin is forbidden, I had to find a way to buy it from the US, but it seems to be working. Only problem is I wish I didn’t have to be on it for too long. I started taking it a little under 3 weeks ago.

  64. The best dose of serotonin ive ever felt in my life, without doubt, is a bit of the love drug, Ecstasy.

    Happy times.

  65. Boosting serotonin levels will just down regulate serotonin receptors. Baseline serotonin levels are not as much of a problem as our sensitivity to it. How we upregulate our receptors would be a more valid discussion.

  66. The magnesium stearate in the formula coats the intestines and prevent absorption of the good stuff. Don’t eat it!!!!!

  67. Great tips, I personally find myself towards the higher end of the carbohydrate curve (around 140 to 170). So all things considering my tryptophan levels should be pretty modest. I also occasionally supplement with l-tryptophan as well. Vitamin B6 is another really crucial nutrient for serotonin production as well.

  68. Next step – asking health insurance to cover massage so I can get a serotonin boost regularly 🙂

  69. I remember reading that experiencing life as an optimist can boost serotonin levels. Hugging and pet cuddling are also easy ways to up that feel good hormone!

  70. All good tips everyone should follow and a good reminder, thanks Mark BUT … it’s not always about trying to load up on serotonin nor is it necessarily safe to do so in excess, it’s also about your ability to USE what serotonin is there, it needs to be transported to the appropriate receptors. I’ve discovered this the hard way over the years. I’m in my 60’s and only take one pharmaceutical, an SSRI, and I no longer beat myself up about needing a reuptake inhibitor to literally help stay sane (I would not wish the panic attacks I get otherwise on my worst enemy).

    1. Try supplementing with l-tryptophan. It’s more gentler then a SSRI plus no potentially undesirable side effects. Supplementing with l-tryptophan, possibly increasing carb intake, and getting either sunlight or using a light box is a good trio of things to try. You might could try cannabis as well, if it’s legal in your region of the world. Of course I don’t want you to get the think I’m encouraging you to abandon your medicine, just some friendly advice :).

  71. Get plenty of Natural Light? Well, it’s been awhile since college, but if it helps with serotonin, I’ll run to the liquor store.

  72. If you follow Bruce Lipton’s work on the biology of belief, you’d know that perception is reality… change your perception… change your reality. Sounds simple, and it is… it’s also profoundly incredible how we are the architects of our experience.

  73. I was so glad to see the disclaimer “This post was originally published in 2007. I’ve revised it substantially to reflect current research findings and scientific understanding.” at the end. I thought I was having a major case of Deja Vu, phew….glad to know I’m not that crazy…great article!

  74. Such a powerful line-up! Essentials for my own mood and sleep include: eating lots of fish; eating primal, nutrient-dense food generally; and getting daily movement that includes yoga and walking.

  75. “…aren’t just ephemera floating around inside our heads without a material representative.” Dang, Mark’s just a really good writer. I’d still come for the content if the form were bad, but good sentences probably boost my serotonin levels.

    1. I don’t like coffee but I do like cocoa which also has caffeine.
      I make a frozen banana cocoa smoothie, put it in an insulated container and take it to golf to drink out on the course. It really keeps me focused and happy.
      Cocoa and banana smoothie..into a blender put a handful of almonds with some water and blend until ‘milk’, add 1 frozen banana, 1 tbs cocoa powder, 1 tsp chia seeds, quarter tsp vanilla powder, 1 tbs collagen hydrolysate, blend until smooth and top with cocoa nibs…..mmmmm

      1. Chia seeds should really be soaked in water overnight but I usually forget to do it. By the time I drink the shake they have softened and swollen.

    2. Yes totally agree! I am such a fan of this website not only for the amazing information shared, but Mark’s writing is incredibly entertaining as well! Good sentences probably boost my seratonin too 😉

  76. In Scandinavia the sun is too low on the sky for UV-B rays to penetrate the atmosphere between October-April, so being outside doesn’t help anything for D-vitamin production.
    So the main reason for low D-vitamin levels in the winter here is not that people won’t brave the cold.

  77. Does anyone else think that the serotonin molecule resembles R. Crumb’s character Mr. Natural who “Keeps on Truckin'” ? Very apt, think

  78. Excellent post! And I’m thinking my serotonin levels must be pretty good…I’m doing pretty much everything on this list. Just need a massage!

  79. Your content has been a way to obtain motivation for starters like me. It is clear and understandable, brief and very simple. More energy to you and your upcoming en devours.

  80. I suffer from reverse/summer-onset SAD. Nothing so far (less light, more light, different sleep patterns, etc) seems to mitigate this. Does anyone with summer SAD have any tips on things that work for them? (I’m fine & upbeat in the cooler months with shorter daylight cycles, and on overcast or stormy summer days. I’m central European with very pale skin & the accompanying vit D deficiency that I keep in check with D3 supplements & diet.)

  81. Thanks. I especially appreciate the warning about eating low-carb. I kept sinking my mood until I realized that carbs are needed to keep up serotonin.

  82. Tryptophan is the precursor to serotonin. It is found naturally in many foods. The key to boosting serotonin naturally with tryptophan rich foods is consuming foods with a high tryptophan to LNAA ratio (large neutral amino acids). This is because the LNAAs compete with tryptophan to cross the blood-brain-barrier. I couldn’t find any site that had these ratios so I did the math for many of the top sources of tryptophan to see which would be the most effective in boosting serotonin. The winner was Chia Seeds, by quite a bit!
    For the full list of foods, their tryptophan to LNAA ratios, the study that came up with the ratio, and what other nutrients contribute to serotonin production check out my full blog post here:
    Tryptophan to LNAA Ratio – The Key to Boosting Serotonin Naturally (https://superfoodbox.life/blogs/blog/tryptophan-to-lnaa-ratio-the-key-to-boosting-serotonin-naturally)

  83. Thanks for a great article 🙂 I borrow some of the material for a post in Swedish, with a reference link back.

  84. This is UTTER rubbish. Garbage. You do NOT need to eat meat at all. I am a vegetarian and with cardio exercise and some coffee (best if organic) I manage to completely defeat any depression tendencies. In fact, I feel really well. On the other hand, if I resume eating meat it makes me sluggish and worsens my skin. Please do your research before writing dangerous (to health) propaganda.

    1. See and the Beauty of all this is I tried all those things over the course of 11 years. Being vegetarian, vegan, even raw vegetarian and you know. I was always sticking to eat healthy and mindful. Want to know my experience? The more animal protein I consume, the better I feel. The more carbs I eat, the crappier I feel.
      What is the learning I take from it? Nobody is alike. Regardless of you your so-called propaganda accusations.

    2. This comment is 3 years old, but I will still add my two cents worth.

      Some people DO need meat. I tried a vegetarian diet a number of years ago. It did not work at all for me. I had zero energy and felt like crap. I was always hungry, no matter how much high quality carby vegetarian food I consumed.

      You cannot judge another person’s nutritional needs by your own. We look mostly alike, and we act mostly alike, but we are not a one-size-fits-all species.

  85. Singing also increases serotonin (and dopamin) levels – joyful singing, that is, not horrible school music lesson experiences. And so does smiling. Just a couple of minutes of fake smile will lift the mood a bit.

    Body posture also affects mood, slumped posture versus straight-backed posture: just guess which one promotes depression and which improves self-esteem…

  86. I’m a natural all the way kind of person but when I had very severe cfs/me the dr suggested an SSRI to help with extreme noise and light sensitivity (it was severe and most people haven’t experienced it before). Anyway, took the SSRI because I couldn’t even talk or read my children a story. It helped a little with the sensitivities but they made me soooo unhappy. I persisted for six months as the dr said it would improve but concluded the unhappiness was not worth it, nor the other side effects and went off cold turkey. It was a terrible experience.

    I think of serotonin as not so much a happy transmittor but more of a resilience and ‘go with the flow’ transmitter.

    Also even though its always worth sorting out the microbiome, chronic infections use up all the serotonin you can possibly muster even after a good diet. So tryptophan with b6 can be helpful in that regard until your immune system is unloaded of burdens.

  87. The probiotic B. Infantis has worked wonders for my IBS and I notice nothing of emotional numbness. Also, the effect coming on only half an hour after taking it, when it no way has landed in your bowels yet – where B. Infantis has its effect – makes me think your reaction to the probiotic is a ‘mind over matter’ sort of reaction.

  88. I am taking Effexor, zofran and subutex. I feel awful after taking it like you said Robitic, very very agitated, tense and almost paranoid. I get stuck on worrying about something and I just can’t explain how I feel. I have a difficult time even talking to my boyfriend and can’t explain what is going on. I feel I have too much seratonin and I’m afraid to put anything in me today. Help please I feel crazy.