Multiple studies have shown that people who suffer with chronic pain, especially migraines, have low serotonin levels.

Serotonin is an important chemical in the body, so in this article, we are going to focus on 10 natural ways to build your serotonin levels and get those migraine symptoms under better control.

In addition to migraines, low serotonin can cause sleep disorders, mood irregularities, and a desire to overeat. Serotonin plays a role in regulating:

  • Appetite
  • Body temperature
  • Blood vessel tone
  • Migraines
  • Pain perception


sunshine increases serotonin# 1: Sunlight and Vitamin D

Sunlight and darkness trigger the release of hormones, and sunlight helps produce more serotonin. Without a good balance between sunlight and darkness exposure, levels will drop, which puts you at risk of depression, pain, anxiety, and exacerbated headaches.

# 2: Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is essential for the control of migraine symptoms and overall health. B6 helps produce serotonin and other neurotransmitters. It is essential for normal brain development and functioning. Good sources of vitamin B6 include:

  • Spinach
  • Garlic
  • Cauliflower
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Mustard Greens


# 3: High-Protein Diet

One of your primary focuses for healthy living should be combining different foods that are most beneficial for digestion, and serotonin plays a huge role in digestion. Tryptophan is responsible for the production of serotonin, so eating foods high in tryptophan would be beneficial.  Examples include:

  • Turkey
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds


# 4: Fermented Drinks and Foods

These foods and drinks help with digestion. They help with the assimilation of nutrients needed to make serotonin. Examples of fermented foods include:

  • Cod liver oil
  • Fermented fish
  • Pickles
  • Sauerkraut
  • Tempeh
  • Yogurt

Drinks like kombucha and Dong Quai are good as well, not to mention a glass of wine!

# 5: Exercise

Exercise is essential for good health and well-being; however, it also plays a role in the production and flow of serotonin. A great deal of research has shown that exercise increases levels; even gentle exercise like walking can boost mood and immunity.

# 6: Massage

The healing power of touch is immense, and new studies have given evidence regarding its benefits.  A study out of Miami, for instance, shows that massage can boost serotonin by 28%, while also decreasing the stress hormone, cortisol, by 31%.

# 7: Reduce Stress

Easier said than done, I know, but essential for overall good health, especially if stress is a trigger for headache or other pain condition. Prolonged stress releases an abundance of cortisol, which negatively interferes with serotonin production and flow.

# 8: Eliminate Sugar from Diet

This is a hard one, but well worth the effort. Sugar is a well-known trigger for migraines. Unfortunately, serotonin deficiency comes with a side effect of sugar craving, so this may prove to be a difficult task. The sugar craving is your body’s way of trying to produce insulin, which helps tryptophan travel to the brain. Too much sugar, however, is detrimental to health and can lead to diabetes, insulin resistance, obesity, and a host of other problems.

# 9: Emotional Healing

This may fall under reducing stress, but still worthy of its own section. Healing yourself emotionally will not only raise your serotonin levels and improve your mood, but it will make a drastic difference to your migraine pain symptoms. The key is to work on techniques that will remove negative emotions like fear, anger, and guilt. Try some self-help books and CD’s to get started in your emotional healing journey.

# 10: Supplements

Finally, but certainly not the least important, is natural supplementation.  Some of my favorites are:

  • 5-HTP
  • SAM-e
  • Tryptophan
  • B vitamins (all 8, but especially B6 and B12)
  • Vitamins C and D
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • L-theanine
  • Omega-3

There are many more, and not all of them need to be taken. Experiment with the ideas above and find the regimen that works best for you!

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