Ebb & Flow -

Have you ever experienced a sudden mood shift or felt anxious for no apparent reason?

Our mental health is intricately linked to our body’s chemical messengers; our neurotransmitters play such a crucial role in regulating various bodily functions, including mood, appetite, sleep, and stress response. As a result, imbalances in these can lead to anxiety, depression, fatigue, inability to focus and more.

Neurotransmitters are chemical signalling molecules which transmit messages from one nerve cell to another and communicate with the rest of body. There are three main neurotransmitters that can have an impact on our mental health, alongside key nutrition and lifestyle factors:

  • Serotonin
  • Gamma-Amino Butyric Acid (GABA)
  • Dopamine

Balance is essential when it comes to neurotransmitters; excess or deficiency can affect our ability to regulate moods, respond to stress, initiate and maintain focus, learn and retain information.


Did you know?

Serotonin is also called the happiness neurotransmitter/hormone, as it is usually associated with wellbeing, satisfaction and popularity

Serotonin is mainly made in our gut, where it regulates our guts motility, but also in our central nervous system, where it can affect mood, appetite, sleep, memory and learning. Deficiency can lead to anxiety, depression, low mood, cravings, increased pain sensitivity, migraines and insomnia. However, high levels of serotonin can also lead to anxiety, alongside irritability, restlessness, headache, fatigue, and gut sensitivities.




Aside from including foods that help to boost serotonin production, we can also

  • Aim to better manage our stress levels by introducing meditation and/or breathing practices to our routine alongside gentle exercise such as yoga
  • Reduce inflammation (from infection, injury, and lifestyle related stress) 
  • Reduce inflammatory foods, including processed foods such as crisps, biscuits, and sugary drinks
  • Better support our mineral and vitamin uptake 

GABA is known as the ‘OFF switch’…

It’s our calming neurotransmitter, and is associated with relaxation, sleep, rest, mood & memory improvement. It is made mainly in our brain cells, and deficiency of GABA can lead to anxiety, panic attacks and low energy.



How are you soothing your nervous system?

Need some inspiration?

  • Add meditation and breathing practices to your daily routine
  • Practise yoga or other exercises regularly
  • Sooth yourself with a warm bath, a walk in nature, reading a book
  • Drink herbal teas over coffee: valerian, lemon balm, rosemary


Dopamine (aka the reward hormone)…

…is associated with motivation, pleasure, attention as well as movement and coordination. It is made in different parts of our brain and is often found to be low in people with addictive personalities. Low levels of this hormone have been associated with lack of motivation, fatigue, insomnia, addictions, cravings, mood issues, inability to focus, ADHD, restless leg syndrome and low libido. 

However, it is important to note that also high levels of dopamine can lead to symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, heightened stress, and an inability to focus.

Tips for supporting dopamine production:

  • Increase your intake of certain foods (particularly healthy fats) – try this salmon and avocado mash!
  • Make sure you get enough vitamins through your daily diet, and sooth your brain with regular sleep, exercise, and meditation.



  • Vitamin B6: Watercress, cauliflower, cabbage, peppers, bananas, squash, broccoli, asparagus, lentils, kidney beans, onions, seeds & nuts, chicken, carrots, eggs, wheatgerm, peas, meat
  • Vitamin C: Peppers, watercress, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries, citrus fruit, kiwi, peas, melons, tomatoes, parsley, blackcurrants, apples, papaya, bean sprouts
  • Vitamin D: Oily fish, mushrooms and sunshine
  • Folate (B9): Wheatgerm, spinach, nuts (esp. peanuts, hazelnuts, cashews, walnuts), sprouts, asparagus, sesame seeds, broccoli, cauliflower, avocados, chicken, root vegetables, mushrooms, fish, liver, legumes

Originally published: https://nutrimente.co.uk/2188-2/