Serotonin and dopamine are two chemical compounds that naturally occur in our bodies and frequently take center stage in the discussion of mental health. Both are responsible for mood regulation and are part of a class of chemicals known as neurotransmitters.
In particular, higher levels of both serotonin and dopamine are associated with elevated moods. Individuals who experience depression, for example, lack sufficient amounts of these chemicals. Medications can help control the way the brain produces or processes serotonin or dopamine, but there are also natural ways to increase their production. Exercise is one notable example.
There is another chemical compound that plays a crucial role in mood regulation that is often left out of the mental health conversation: norepinephrine.
The norepinephrine definition is similar to that of serotonin and dopamine: it is a neurotransmitter. It is also a stress hormone that helps us leap into action when something threatens our safety. While norepinephrine definitions often focus on this fact, it is responsible for more than just our fight or flight instinct; it also helps us combat depression.
In the same way that norepinephrine keeps us alert in times of danger, it also helps us stay alert and energized in smaller doses throughout the day. If we don’t produce enough of it, depression and lethargy can occur.
Naturally Increasing Norepinephrine
Anything we can do as part of our daily routines to increase norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine production in the brain is an excellent preventative measure against depression and other mood disorders.
Eating certain foods is purported to help increase the amount of norepinephrine produced in the brain. Foods that contain the amino acid, tyrosine, are particularly recommended. These foods include cheese and other dairy products, soybeans, nuts, and whole grains. Other foods that can help increase norepinephrine include:
- Beans and legumes
Other ways to increase norepinephrine naturally include exercising for at least half an hour each day, taking a cold shower and getting plenty of sleep. These activities will also help boost serotonin and dopamine, making them wise habits for anyone who would like to keep their mental health in tip-top shape.
“How to Balance Norepinephrine Levels Naturally” – BeBrainFit.com
“Norepinephrine” – Addiction.com