The lack of serotonin can cause different negative aspects in the physical and mental health of people. To avoid depression, it would be advisable to improve our nutritional deficiencies.
Deficiency of a neurotransmitter called Serotonin, which the body creates from tryptophan, can cause a type of depression characterized by sadness, irritability or aggressive outbursts, anxiety, sleep problems, and obsessions.
Tryptophan is an amino acid found in the proteins we eat with our diet. Once in our body, it is transformed into 5-HTP which, in turn, becomes serotonin, a neurotransmitter that controls mood, sleep (serotonin is a precursor to the sleep hormone, melatonin), appetite and pain threshold, among other functions. Both tryptophan and 5-HTP can be purchased at any herbalist.
Symptoms caused by a lack of serotonin
Lack of this neurotransmitter can produce a wide variety of symptoms, such as depression , anxiety, irritability, panic, PMS, sleep problems, or muscle pain. Some people have only some of the symptoms, while others may have many of them.
When serotonin levels are adequate, your brain is capable of producing positive emotions and thoughts, while when they are too low, negativity predominates, you tend to think about what you have yet to do or what you have done wrong instead of being proud of your achievements, you see the negative side of everything and are easily irritated by anything.
Anxiety and obsession
Lack of serotonin can cause a type of depression in which the person feels agitated and anxious. She is worried, becomes obsessed with thinking about some problem or negative experience, and her behavior can also become obsessive or rigid (for example, she is a perfectionist, it is difficult for her to leave something for later even though she is exhausted, etc.).
The person who suffers from a lack of serotonin feels irritated, impatient, may have violent outbursts that it is difficult to control, or respond badly to their loved ones, with criticism and intolerance.
Negative thoughts and feelings appear frequently, you feel unhappy and think that you will always be unhappy and nothing will ever improve, you see everything black, you do not see a happy future, your thinking is pessimistic and you may think about suicide.
People with a lack of serotonin often have low self-esteem, lack of confidence, fear, panic, shyness or social anxiety , and a tendency to criticize themselves harshly, think that they are not doing enough, that they are not worth enough, and feel guilty and / or embarrassment or self-hatred.
They have a hard time falling asleep at night or they wake up too early in the morning, or several times during the night.
Causes of a lack of serotonin
Researchers are not sure of the exact causes of serotonin deficiency. But what is known is that some people may simply produce less than others. among the possible causes we can find the following:
Lack of tryptophan
This deficiency can be caused by a lack of tryptophan in your diet due to not taking enough protein, or because it is being inhibited by alcohol, caffeine or artificial sweeteners like aspartame .
Lack of sunlight
Serotonin is stimulated by sunlight , so the lack of sun can affect you, feeling depressed especially in winter. Thus, a deficiency of serotonin can produce a seasonal affective disorder.
Many of the foods we consume today are of low quality because the soils for crops are poor in minerals, as opposed to organic products, whose quality is much higher.
Amino acid and vitamin deficiencies
Sometimes this may be enough, but you may also have other amino acid, vitamin, or mineral deficiencies, or you may need psychotherapy as well.
However, correcting possible nutritional deficiencies should always be the first step in any type of treatment. Women produce less serotonin than men, so they are more likely to need supplements.
6 Nutritional Steps to Avoid Serotonin Depression
Regardless of what is causing a serotonin deficiency, there are some proven ways to increase serotonin function, both in the brain and in the rest of the body.v
Eat protein with a complex carbohydrate for breakfast every day
- This step is truly your anchor, your foundation for the rest of the day. It is important that you eat enough protein for your weight and to increase your chances of avoiding depression. To do this, divide your weight in pounds in half so that it gives you the total number of proteins in grams that you should eat each day. Eat a third of that amount at each meal. So if you weigh 135 pounds (1 kilogram = 2.2046 pounds), you’re going to eat a total of 67.5 grams of protein per day and 22.5 grams per meal.
- To avoid depression eat foods rich in protein such as fish, egg, cottage cheese, protein powder in a smoothie, nuts or nut butter, beans. See: Top 7 Plant-Based Protein Sources
- Eat a complex carbohydrate alongside your protein. If you are a small person, 1/2 cup will do enough, if you are bigger 1-2 cups will be a good size. Eat whole grains such as oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, potatoes with skin, sweet potato, whole grain tortilla, or beans. Avoid consuming refined carbohydrates such as white bread, cakes, cookies, etc.
- Eat an hour after waking up – this will help prevent depression while replenishing the lack of serotonin.
2. Eat every meal with a serving of protein
- In the first step you have learned how much protein you should eat according to your weight. Eat that much protein per meal.
- Including a complex carbohydrate in your meal, once again, remember the portion corresponding to your weight.
- Eat meals no more than 6 hours between meals.
- Make sure to include a wide variety of fresh vegetables and some fresh fruit with every meal.
3. Include essential supplements in your daily diet to avoid depression
Because depression and stress affect calcium stores, it is important to take a calcium supplement or foods rich in calcium. Most quality calcium supplements are combined with magnesium for proper assimilation.
Adequate levels of vitamin D3 have been shown to prevent and treat depression as well. You can get it by supplementing with cod liver oil and having a whole food source; You can also get it for free by exposing your skin to the sun for 15 to 20 minutes a day. Cod liver oil
Cod liver oil is rich in two important acids, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). Low levels of DHA and EPA have been linked to depression and other mental health problems.
DHA is essential for proper brain development and function, while EPA supports healthy behavior and mood.
Cod liver oil is also anti-inflammatory, a central nervous system tonic and supports nerve regeneration through neuronal wall regeneration.
Vitamin B12 in the vitamin B complex
Vitamin B12 is important to support proper central nervous system function, behavior, and mood. It is of great help for those with a type of depression that keeps them with a foggy and foggy mind and with excessive daytime sleepiness known as hypersomnia. Make sure to take B12 in the form of a vitamin B complex supplement to avoid vitamin B imbalances.
Magnesium is a must for those who want to recover from depression. Promotes deep and restful sleep, ideal for combating sleep disturbances.
Sleep is very important to maintain proper serotonin levels. The magnesium supplement form will be in a powder form that is added to the liquid.
4. Keep a food diary of what you eat and how you feel after eating them
A food diary can be a resource for connecting what you eat and how you feel. It will give you a clear idea of your progress and the areas that need to be improved. Be sure to write down the date and time of your entry, what you eat and drink, supplements and herbs you are taking, and how you feel emotionally and physically.
5. Reduce or eliminate sugars, alcohol and caffeine
These three indulgences greatly impact insulin levels, the nervous system can cause vitamin and mineral deficiencies which contribute to depression and hormonal imbalance.
As long as these are taken regularly, any of them, or all of them on the same day, there is going to be a roller coaster ride in insulin levels. It is almost impossible to cure depression if these are part of your diet.
It’s common to feel a little out of your mind or not being yourself while eliminating these from your diet, don’t worry, this is a normal reaction of your body to detoxifying from them.
6. Eat a potato before going to bed
You may be thinking this is crazy, but the research is not. According to Kathleen DesMaisons, Ph.D. , Author of: Potatoes Not Prozac , Potato Changes Brain Chemistry. He says:
“The potato creates an insulin response that affects the movement of the amino acid tryptophan from the blood to your brain. Your body uses tryptophan to make serotonin, the brain chemical that makes you feel mellow and happy. Serotonin also helps you just say no to sweets and other things by curbing your impulsiveness. ”
Dr. Desmaisons guidelines are quite simple: eat a potato with the skin (mashed, baked, roasted, hash browns) 3 hours before going to bed.
Avoid accompanying the potato with a protein. Good options to accompany it are olive oil, mustard, spices, garlic. The potato does not have to be large, it can be the fingelings or elongated ones, or Yukon gold. Alone they are better for digestion and use.
For those with low serotonin levels, introducing a potato before bed can cause wild dreams, a headache, or the feeling of a hangover.
This is a signal to reduce the serving size of the potato you are eating. The larger the serving, the greater the serotonin spike. More is not better, start with a smaller serving until you feel great and are sleeping well and your moods stabilize throughout the day.
The goal here is to get your body to produce and regulate serotonin levels, so you can feel your best.