How to Increase the Feel Good Hormone Serotonin When Trying to Conceive
(By Fiona Kacz-Boulton)
Trying to conceive with all the ups and downs you can endure along the way can be a painful and isolating struggle.
Both stress and depression negatively impact your fertility because they create hormone imbalances.
It is like a fast-acting downward spiral that only seems to be made worse when people around you keep announcing their ‘happy news’ that they are pregnant, or; when people keep saying “just don’t worry about it and it will happen,” or; “just relax and be happy.”
These kinds of comments only take your feelings of sadness to a state of heightened anger!
If you are not careful and allow yourself to sink into a state of depression or become riddled with stress, it will further reduce your chances of fertility and parenthood success – creating such a vicious cycle of heartache.
In a desperate attempt to cope, you read about the benefits of meditation. You practice your fertility meditation only to find your mind uncontrollablly chanting the mantras:
“It is so unfair; why me? When will it be my turn? Will I ever have this baby?”
You are tempted to find a “quick fix” and scroll through pages of advice splashed across your computer and smart phone – all thanks to the new man you spend the majority of your time with: Mr Google.
… But he only makes you feel more confused and distraught…
The only quick fix you can find seems to be anti-depressant mood enhances, such as SSRI’s (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) which are not ideal because less that 50% of people find they work. Additionally, you want to be as healthy as possible whilst trying to conceive. Furthermore you want to optimize your egg health and don’t want to self-diagnose or self self-medicate.
Is this you? Do you find yourself here or some place similar?
Do you want to naturally be able to improve your mood whilst trying to conceive?
Then let’s look at new things you can add to your fertile lifestyle to help you begin to feel better.
When you feel better you have more energy and you become resilient: able to cope better when life throws you another disappointing or heart-breaking blow.
The four main feel good hormones to increase naturally are:
In a nutshell, there is one thing that helps raise all four of these feel good hormones and that is “passionate sex.”
In addition to lusty love-making I am going to start from the bottom of the list and work my way up over a series of articles to help you maximize your mood-enhancing repertoire from other lifestyle choices.
What is serotonin and why is it good for fertility?
Serotonin is a feel good neurotransmitter it literally helps you to maintain a positive mood. Fertility is triggered by joy, for this reason you want to embrace the amount of serotonin synthetized in your body and brain.
Serotonin Fact ♯1
It’s believed that low serotonin levels are the main contributing factor responsible for the current world-wide depression epidemic.
Serotonin Boosting Foods
Contrary to ‘what seems logical’ foods that contain serotonin do not raise serotonin levels when ingested.
For example; bananas, pineapple, kiwi fruits and tomatoes contain serotonin but eating them does not directly raise your serotonin levels because they do not cross the blood-brain barrier.
The pre-cursor to Serotonin is an amino acid called tryptophan but again, eating foods high in tryptophan (such as eggs, fish, chicken, turkey, chickpeas, etc.) does not directly raise your serotonin levels either. Again, this is because they do not cross the blood-brain barrier.
When protein and carbohydrates are eaten together not only can your gut not digest it (it can only digest one at a time) but your brain can not get the benefits of tryptophan either.
During her research at MIT, Dr. Judith J. Wurtman, co-author of The Serotonin Power Diet, Wurtman discovered that eating carbohdyrates separately from proteins helps the brain synthesize serotonin. Furthermore, According to Kathleen DesMaisons, Ph.D., author of Potatoes Not Prozac, the potato changes your brain chemistry. She says, “The potato creates an insulin response that affects the movement of the amino acid tryptophan from your blood into your brain. Your body uses tryptophan to make serotonin, the brain chemical that makes you feel mellow and happy. Serotonin also helps you to “just say no” to sweets and other things by putting the brakes on your impulsivity.”
Craving sweets and sugary carbohydrates is the first sign that your dopamine levels have dropped and for women this is commonly triggered by stress.
What is the solution?
These aformentioned doctors believe eating a stand-alone potato can help. It is best to top your potato with turmeric or fermented foods such as kimchi or raw sour kraut as well as good quality virgin cold-pressed organic olive oil. Each one of these ingredients can help increase your serotonin levels.
Other organic foods for boosting serotonin whilst trying to conceive:
- Dark chocolate (Caco nibs)
- Sweet potatoes
- Root vegetables
- Short grain brown rice
- Oatmeal (gluten free oats) – did you know all oats are gluten free and what makes them ‘glutenous’ is the fact they are rolled in flour whilst being processed.
Organic supplements that are safe for boosting serotonin whilst trying to conceive:
Curcumin (from turmeric, also helps reduce inflammation)
- Available in supermarkets and healthfood stores
Kefir (Either water kefir, coconut kefir or raw organic cow’s milk kefir which helps to improve digestive function too)
- Available in healthfood stores
Digestive Herb Mix – (a chewable blend of fennel seeds, peppermint, liquorice, jaggery, dhania dal, ajwain, whole flax seeds, hari patti, sesame seeds)
- Available in my shop for £17.99 (100g)
Klammath Blue-green Algae (A slow release energy source with an accumulative effect – meaning it builds up in the body over time and has the cleanest and potent forms of B12 and omegas. It also has the ability to penetrate the blood brain barrier)
- Available in my shop for £42.00 (130 vegan capsules)
Marine Phytoplankton (An instant release energy source that has the cleanest and richest source of combined B12 and omegas as well as being able to penetrate the blood brain barrier)
- Available in my shop for £36.00 (130 vegan capsules)
Vitamin D3 (There are different forms of Vitamin D. D3 is best for fertility. Vitamin D3 is best form of the vitamin. Ensure that you also have taken Vitamin A and K to balance the Vitamin D – you will be if you are taking the fertility honey and/or the JuicePlus+ capsules).
- Available in my shop for £16.99 (60 capsules)
Serotonin Fact ♯2
According to the Scientific American, 95% of serotonin resides in your digestive tract not your brain! (Read more here – https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/gut-second-brain/)
This is why the emphasis on gut health is important (and the consumption of pre and pro-biotics). It has been proven that if you do not have enough ‘good bacteria’ in your digestive tract it can negatively impact your brain health resulting in lowered serotonin levels and causing depression.
What can upset your good bacteria?
Top 8 intestinal flora destroyers
- Anti-bacterial cleaners and hand soaps/body washes
- Artificial sweeteners
- Inflammation (which is why I recommend turmeric and JuicePlus+ capsules for they reduce inflammation)
- Non-organic food because commercially grown food has been sprayed with: herbicides; fungicides; pesticides which destroy gut health
- Stress (which inhibits the function of the digestive system)
- Tap water (if you only use a Brita filter it won’t get rid of the chlorine which is what destroys the good bacteria). Read more about tap water here
Other lifestyle choices to proven to help enhance serotonin levels:
- Eat within an hour of waking
- Sleep between 10:00pm – 6:00am in a pitch black room
- Exercise for 20 – 30 minutes per day with a raised heart rate
- Fertility Meditation
- Fertility Mind-mastery to create the much needed positive mind-set that ‘significantly boosts serotonin levels’ stated Healthline, see article here
- Fertility Yoga
- Reduce time using dirty technology (our technology emits electro-magnetic frequencies which disrupt our natural rhythms and are linked to raised cortisol levels)
- Have lots of passionate sex (as mentioned earlier)
- Stress management techniques
- Sunshine (light therapy) is renowned for remedying depression. Research that shows a clear link between light and serotonin was published on PubMed called ‘Bright light exposure during acute tryptophan depletion prevents a lowering of mood in mildly seasonal women.’
If you are one of the many women on my 90 Day Fast Track to Fertility Fertile Lifestyle Online Course then will will sound familiar to you. (Namely the Mood and Food section and Managing Moods Module; Mind-Mastery Module; Fertility Fit and Chakra Yoga Video on Demand). The 6 pillar epigenetics protocol (as illustrated below) will inevitably help you to balance your mood, your hormones and your feel-good neurotransmitters!
How helpful was this article?
I love your comments and feedback – if you have any questions or want to share your experience please do so via the comment section below.
Fiona Kacz-Boulton is a Fertility Specialist
(An expert in her field since 2007) and leader in fertility yoga – inspiring people to evolve on their conscious journey to parenthood.
Founder of Awakening Fertility – Harley Street, London and Concept Fertility, London
- Natural Fertility Specialist
- Fertility Coach
- Nutrition Counsellor
- Writer for Huffington Post
- Public Speaker
- Mind Mastery Practitioner
- QiYoga® Founder
- Fertility Yoga Teacher Trainer (RYS 200)
- Fertile Lifestyle Motivator
- Fertility Support Group Facilitator
- Fertility Practitioner Training Co-ordinator
Through my Fertile Lifestyle programmes, I help navigate major transitions to detox your mind (and body) to help you effectively ‘think yourself fertile.’
Book your 30 minute complimentary consultation
With me, founder of Awakening Fertility, Fiona Kacz-Boulton here.
- Bartholow, Lydia Ann PMHNP. Stress, Trauma & Depression talk. Portland Plant Medicine Gathering, 2012.
- Hoffman, David. The New Holistic Herbal, Element Books, 1990.
Serotonin Foods and Mood Disorders