Our expert says:
Thank you, I hope you also had a good day. Serotonin is what is called a neurotransmitter, a chemical that helps to transmit the signal between nerves. It is possible to measure serotonin levels in the body, but this is not done often as far as I know. The symptoms of a serotonin deficiency include depression, so in most cases, patients who receive medications like serotonin-reuptake inhibitors suffer from depression. The levels of serotonin in the brain are increased if you eat carbohydrates (sugars and starches) and proteins. It has been said that individuals who binge on carbs are selfmedicating their low serotonin levels! Basically eating a diet that is rich in low-fat, high-fibre carbs and some lean protein should improve serotonin levels without making you gain weight.
You can try eating a balanced, energy-reduced, low-fat, high-fibre diet (click on 'DietnFood' at the top of this page, then on 'Healthy Diets' and then on 'Slimming Diet' for a copy of such a diet) and do daily aerobic exercise (e.g. skipping, swimming, cycling, jogging, brisk walking, etc) for at least 30 min a day. The exercise helps to produce endorphins (another chemical that affects and lifts the mood).
I would rather avoid over-the-counter supplements seeing that you can obtain a serotonin-boosting effect by eating normal foods.
If you suffer from severe depression then it is important to obtain medical advice.
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