Food/supplements recommendations for increasing serotonin(5-HT)

This was a request from a reader and I will do a direct approach Items reported from studies.

Items from Published Studies

  1. Tryptophan: This is an amino acid that the body converts into serotonin. It’s found in foods like turkey, cheese, and nuts, but it’s also available as a supplement.
  2. 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan): This is a by-product of tryptophan and is directly converted into serotonin in the body. It’s often used as a supplement for mood enhancement.
  3. St. John’s Wort: Often used for depression, St. John’s Wort is believed to affect serotonin levels, although its exact mechanism is not fully understood.
  4. SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine): This is a compound naturally found in the body that is thought to enhance neurotransmitter production, including serotonin.
    • “Use of SAMe elicited no significant adverse effects beyond placebo, however it was implicated in one case of serotonin syndrome-like symptoms.” [2018]
  5. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Found in fish oil and certain plant oils, omega-3 fatty acids are linked to improved mental health and mood regulation, possibly through influencing serotonin pathways.
  6. Vitamin B6 and B12: These vitamins are important for serotonin production. A deficiency in these vitamins can lead to reduced serotonin levels.
    • “vitamin B6, a cofactor in the tryptophan-serotonin pathway critical to mood regulation.” [2023]
    • Link between higher levels of homocysteine and depression [2012]
      • “Homocystcinc is reconstituted into methionine, which is essential to the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine which elevate mood. This reconstitution requires B-group vitamins, especially folic acid and B12. “
  7. Magnesium: This mineral plays a role in many biochemical reactions in the body and has been suggested to have a mood-stabilizing effect, possibly by influencing serotonin.
    • Effect of subacute manganese feeding on serotonin metabolism in the rat [1978]
  8. Probiotics: Some research suggests that gut health can impact serotonin levels, as a significant amount of this neurotransmitter is produced in the gut.


  • Foods with Tryptophan: “chicken, soya beans, cereals, tuna, nuts and bananas’ may serve as an alternative to improve mood and cognition. ‘ [2013]
  • Withania somnifera ( ashwagandha)
    • “subjects showed significant increases in serum serotonin, gastrin,” [2024]
  • kiwifruit
    • ” treatments increased urinary concentration of the serotonin metabolite” [2023]
  • poly-γ-glutamic acid with vitamin B6
    • “a greater increase in the group C intervention (4.59 ± 38.5 ng/mL) in serum serotonin concentrations’ [2021]

Vitamin D has no effect (multiple studies)

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