Most people wonder how to increase serotonin and dopamine naturally, but why is it even important?

Serotonin and dopamine are two neurotransmitters that help regulate your mood, appetite, memory, and more. If your serotonin and dopamine levels are low, it can make you feel sad, depressed, unmotivated, or stressed out.

Although antidepressants may be prescribed to increase serotonin and dopamine levels in the body, they have many side effects that you may not want to experience – including insomnia, dry mouth, drowsiness, dizziness, and weight gain.

Fortunately, there are natural ways to boost serotonin and dopamine levels that don’t involve pharmaceuticals. Here are 10 of them!

What is Serotonin?

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in many important bodily functions. It’s sometimes called the “happy hormone” because it’s associated with feelings of well-being and happiness. 

  • Serotonin helps regulate mood, sleep, and appetite
  • It’s been shown to promote feelings of calmness and relaxation
  • Serotonin is involved in memory and learning
  • It plays a role in regulating blood pressure and heart rate
  • Serotonin may help prevent migraines and other types of headaches
  • Some researchers believe that serotonin may help protect against cancer
  • Serotonin is also being studied for its potential to treat Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other neurological disorders.
  • Promotes born growth, development, and maintenance

A serotonin deficiency has been linked to:

  • Depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders
  • Irritability and aggressiveness
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Decreased appetite
  • Craving carbohydrate-rich foods and sweets
  • Nausea and digestive issues
  • Memory and learning issues
  • Changes in sleep
  • Post-menopausal symptoms
  • Obsessive thinking

What is dopamine?

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine is involved in a number of important functions, including motivation, attention, and movement.

It also plays a role in motivation, reinforcement of behaviors, and also has links to addiction.

When someone does something that feels good, dopamine is released as part of the brain’s reward system. This encourages them to repeat the behavior.

Dopamine also affects mood, learning, and attention. An imbalance in dopamine levels can lead to Parkinson’s disease, restless leg syndrome, and schizophrenia.

Too much dopamine can also be toxic. Stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamines increase dopamine levels which can lead to addiction and overdose.

Cute funny human brain organ character and dopamine,serotonin formula in speech bubble

How to increase serotonin and dopamine naturally?

1. Food

Although food doesn’t directly boost serotonin levels. Certain foods can help increase serotonin levels by increasing your levels of tryptophan, an amino acid that’s converted into serotonin in the brain.

  • Oats
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Pistachios
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Banana
  • Lentils

2. Light exposure

According to research, your skin may be able to produce some serotonin when exposed to the sun.

The research further shows that your serotonin levels drop during winter but increase in summer and fall.

Things you can do to increase your sunlight uptake include spending 10-15 minutes in the sun each day, especially during morning hours when the sun is not too hot. If planning to stay longer, don’t forget your sunscreen.

Another way to experience more sun is to take your workout outdoors.

If you have a hard time getting outside, or for the colder months when the sun is nowhere, a light therapy box may be a great alternative.

3. Exercise

Exercise can help increase levels of tryptophan in the blood by promoting the release of this amino acid from muscle tissue. As tryptophan enters the bloodstream, it’s taken up by the brain, where it’s used to produce serotonin.

Aerobic exercise is the most effective type of exercise for increasing serotonin levels. This includes things like swimming, jogging, cycling, brisk walking, and light hiking.

However, any type of exercise can be helpful. Even brief bursts of activity, such as taking a brisk walk or doing some jumping jacks, can increase serotonin levels.

4. Massage

Massage therapy increases serotonin levels by stimulating the release of the hormone. This can help promote relaxation, improve mood, reduce stress, and improve sleep.

And to make it effective, you don’t even need to visit a professional. One study found that pregnant women with depression who received 20 minutes of massage from their partners twice a week recorded reduced anxiety and depression after 16 weeks.

5. Mood induction

Mood induction is a process by which an individual’s mood is deliberately shifted in a positive direction.

This can be done through activities such as listening to uplifting music, watching happy videos, or spending time in nature.

Research has shown that mood induction can increase serotonin levels, the “happy hormone.” This boost in serotonin can lead to improved mood, increased feelings of well-being, and reduced stress levels.

Tips to increase dopamine naturally

1. Increase protein intake

Proteins are the building blocks of the human body. They are essential for our muscles, bones, and organs to function properly. Protein contains smaller building blocks called amino acids, including tyrosine. Tyrosine is also a precursor to dopamine, meaning it increases dopamine synthesis in the brain.

Also, tyrosine promotes the production of phenylalanine, another amino acid that can promote dopamine production.

Some protein-rich foods, like legumes, have been shown to contain phenylalanine. Increasing your intake of both phenylalanine and tyrosine through a protein-rich diet is the best way to increase your dopamine.

On the contrary, a reduced intake of these nutrients has been shown to cause a drop in dopamine levels.

2. Increase your probiotic intake

The gut is often referred to as the second brain because it contains a good number of nerve cells responsible for the production of transmitter signaling chemicals like dopamine. Probiotics

Probiotics are live microorganisms that are similar to the good bacteria found in your gut. Boosting your intake promotes a healthy gut which further increases the production of dopamine.

But that’s not all, studies show that some probiotic strains can also directly impact the production of dopamine. These strains have the ability to signal the brain to produce more dopamine.

Probiotics can also help increase dopamine levels by reducing inflammation.

Dopamine, serotonin concept. people enjoying life due to hormones production in organism

3. Regular exercise

Just like serotonin, exercise is one of the best ways to naturally boost dopamine levels. Studies have found that regular exercise can increase dopamine levels by up to 20%.

In one study, rats that ran on a treadmill had higher levels of dopamine than rats that didn’t exercise. And in another study, people who exercised had higher levels of dopamine than people who didn’t exercise.

Also, exercise stimulates the release of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which helps to promote the growth and development of new dopamine neurons. Exercise has also been shown to increase the number of dopamine receptors in the brain, which makes it easier for the neurotransmitter to do its job.

Studies have also shown that aerobic exercise can improve balance, coordination, and motor function in people with Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and progressive neurological disorder that affects the ability to control movement. It is caused by the loss of nerve cells in the substantia nigra, a region of the brain that controls movement. Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include tremors, rigidity, slowness of movement, and difficulty with balance.

4. Get enough sleep

Sleep is essential for maintaining healthy dopamine levels. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation can lead to a decrease in dopamine production and that getting enough restful sleep can help increase dopamine levels. So if you’re looking to boost your dopamine levels, make sure you’re getting plenty of rest!

In addition, sleep may boost your immune system, lower your risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, and maintain a healthy weight,

There are a few simple lifestyle changes you can make to help improve your sleep including

There are a number of things you can do to improve your sleep quality. Here are 10 tips:

  • Establish a regular sleep schedule and stick to it as much as possible
  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine and stick to it every night
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed
  • Avoid working or using electronic devices in bed
  • Get up and move around every few hours to keep your body active
  • Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet
  • Practice some relaxation techniques before bedtime
  • Cut down on naps during the day
  • Make sure your mattress and pillows are comfortable
  • See a doctor if you have any underlying medical conditions that could be affecting your sleep quality.

5. Listen to music

Listening to music is a great way to increase dopamine levels in the brain. This is because music activates the reward center in the brain, which releases dopamine. Studies have shown that listening to music can increase dopamine levels by up to 9%.

So, if you’re looking for a natural way to boost your dopamine levels, then listening to music is a great option. Plus, it’s enjoyable and can help improve your mood.

6. Get enough sunlight

If you find yourself feeling down or depressed during the winter months, you may be suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a type of depression that is related to the change in seasons, and it typically begins in the fall and continues into the winter. SAD usually occurs due to the low levels of mood-boosting neurotransmitters like dopamine.

In one study, using tanning beds at least twice a week for one year resulted in a significant boost of dopamine. This also resulted in addiction making the participants want to repeat the behavior.

There are a number of different symptoms of SAD, including feelings of sadness or hopelessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, changes in appetite or weight, and social withdrawal. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms during winter, try incorporating dopamine-boosting habits to see if there’s any change.

7. Include curcumin

While curcumin is best known as the active ingredient in turmeric, it has also been studied for its ability to increase dopamine levels.

Curcumin can inhibit monoamine oxidase-A (MAO-A), an enzyme that breaks down dopamine in your brain. In this way, curcumin helps maintain adequate dopamine levels, so you stay more focused and energized.

Additionally, because curcumin prevents MAO-A from breaking down dopamine, it makes the neurotransmitter last longer before being degraded by other enzymes.

Curcumin is an excellent choice for those seeking a natural dopamine boost because it is safe and well-tolerated. Plus, it has other health benefits like reducing inflammation and promoting heart health. So, if you’re looking for an all-around healthy way to improve your dopamine levels, curcumin is a great option.

8. Meditation

One of the easiest ways to boost your dopamine levels is through practicing mindfulness.

When you are mindful, it means that you are experiencing the moment as fully as possible. You can practice mindfulness by focusing on things in your life that bring you joy.

Whether it’s spending time with a friend, going for a walk, or enjoying a favorite food—whatever brings you happiness, make sure to take the time to focus on those moments and appreciate them. All of these practices will help calm you and allow your brain to release more dopamine.

9. Eat magnesium-rich foods

Magnesium is one of the most important minerals in the body and is necessary for hundreds of chemical reactions that keep our cells functioning normally.

Eating a magnesium-rich diet will help your body release more dopamine, which will make you feel happier and more relaxed. You can find magnesium in foods like green leafy vegetables, avocados, pumpkin seeds, bananas, beans, potatoes, and brown rice.

Final Thoughts 

Dopamine and serotonin are important neurotransmitters that play a role in many different functions in the body. While they have similar effects, they also have some distinct differences.

Dopamine is associated with pleasure and reward, while serotonin is involved in regulating mood and appetite. Both of these neurotransmitters are important for maintaining good health and well-being.

There are many ways to increase serotonin and dopamine levels naturally. Exercise, diet, sufficient sleep, and sunlight all play a role in keeping these important neurotransmitters at healthy levels.

You can also increase your dietary intake of protein, tryptophan, tyrosine, and magnesium-rich foods.

By following these tips, you can keep your mood and energy levels balanced and improve your overall well-being.

Other related articles:

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  2. Foods That Lower Cortisol
  3. How To Boost Metabolism Naturally
  4. How To Boost Your Immune System
  5. Signs You May Have A Bad Liver

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