LifestyleHealth & FitnessSerotonin : What it does

Serotonin : What it does


We have all heard of Serotonin at some point and wondered about its connection to human mood and emotion. There’s a reason behind why this ‘Happy Chemical’ plays a huge role in controlling our well-being and happiness.

What is Serotonin?

Serotonin, scientifically knowns as 5-hydroxytryptamine is a neurotransmitter, produced in our brain and intestine, also located in blood platelets and bowels. This hormone helps in transmitting signals between nerve cells and influences mood, emotions, appetite, digestion, and sleep cycle.

How is it connected to Mood?

The sole precursor behind this hormone is an essential amino acid called Tryptophan which can be found in many protein-based foods such as meats, dairy, and seeds. This nutrient travels through your bloodstream and is converted into Serotonin once it reaches the brain.

The key role of this hormone is connecting your thoughts to your feelings. It helps us decipher the feelings and emotions of others and determines the reaction in accordance with it. Considering that, the function of serotonin plays a vital role in regulating your mood, and lack of it may end up causing several psychological disorders like anxiety, depression and impulsive behaviour.


Even though Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are medications that help our body use serotonin more efficiently, you can also boost its level through intake of serotonin rich foods. Foods that include, Tryptophan, B Vitamins, Vitamin D, and Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Here are foods that are high in protein, iron, riboflavin and contain a high dosage of Tryptophan.

  • Eggs
  • Cheese and Tofu
  • Pineapple
  • Salmon
  • Nuts and Seeds

Other tips:

  • Take a walk outside in the sunlight. Bright light boosts the level of this happy hormone as light therapy is known to cure seasonal depression.
  • Eat a healthy balanced high-fiber diet to activate your healthy gut bacteria.
  • Multiple studies suggest physical activity boosts the levels of serotonin.

Text by: Ipsita Ghosh, IBTN9

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